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Moorhead headed to Class 2A boys state hockey title game for eighth time

Moorhead's Kyler Kleven (10) is swarmed by teammates Jacob Holtgrewe (16), Jake Beedy (24) and Carter Howell (13) after scoring against Lakeville South Friday, March 10, 2017, during the Minnesota Class 2A state boys hockey tournament semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. David Samson / Forum News Service1 / 2
Lakeville South goalie Isaiah DiLaura reacts in anguish as Moorhead's Carter Randklev (6) celebrates his second-period goal Friday, March 10, 2017, during the Minnesota Class 2A state boys hockey tournament semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. David Samson / Forum News Service2 / 2

ST. PAUL—Moorhead is headed back to the Minnesota Class 2A boys hockey state tournament for the eighth time behind a 3-2 win over Lakeville South at Xcel Energy Center on Friday, March 10. The Spuds will play the winner of Grand Rapids and Eden Prairie at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Lakeville South handed Moorhead its first deficit of the postseason when Spud goalie Lance Leonard stopped the shot of Joe Novak, but Zachary Bauer was there to stuff home the rebound with 1 minute, 44 seconds remaining in the first. The Spuds had not trailed in a game since the third period of their season finale, going 228 minutes, 28 seconds straight without being behind in a game.

Moorhead answered its first deficit in a long time with a dominating second period. Generally, on the top line for Moorhead, Jack Stetz does the dirty work with his 6-foot-2 frame for Carter Randklev and Cole O'Connell. That wasn't the case in the opening minutes of the second when Randklev knocked a puck out of the air to O'Connell just outside the Lakeville South zone. O'Connell fought through three defenders, got a shot on net that was stopped, but Stetz was there to slam home the rebound into a wide open net to tie the game.

Randklev put Moorhead on top 2-1 via a power-play goal, on a shot from a seemingly impossible angle on the goal line. He roofed it, Lakeville South goalie Isaiah DiLaura had no chance and the Spuds had a lead with 8:59 to go in the second.

Just over four minutes into the third, Carter Howell chipped the puck to the neutral zone onto the stick of sophomore Kyler Kleven. Kleven was off to the races on a 2-on-1 advantage, but he kept it himself, fired top shelf and the Spuds had a two-goal cushion.

Joshua Ess scored with Lakeville South having pulled the goalie with 1:27 to go, but Moorhead hung on to get to the state title game for the first time since 2009.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, LS, Bauer (Novak), 15:16.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, M, Stetz (O'Connell, Randklev), 3:24. 3, M, Randklev (O'Connell, Frisch), 8:01, pp.

THIRD PERIOD: 4, M, Kleven (Howell), 4:06. 5,

SAVES: LS, DiLaura 8-14-0—34. M, Leonard 9-10-0—24.

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.

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