Dakota United is CI Division adapted floor hockey winner
About four months ago Dakota United had a state adapted soccer championship almost in its grasp, only to have it snatched away in overtime.
The Hawks got a second chance for a first-place trophy Saturday and made the most of it, defeating North Suburban 4-2 in the state CI Division adapted floor hockey final. Junior forward Blake St. Mane scored a hat trick in Saturday’s championship game at Bloomington Jefferson High School.
“During the final game, I kept telling the kids, don’t ease up on them, don’t let them back in like we did against South Washington (in the adapted soccer championship game). … They did not want to lose another championship game.” Dakota United coach Brett Kosidowski said.
Dakota United, a cooperative team that includes students from Apple Valley, Eagan, Eastview and Rosemount high schools, won its first CI Division floor hockey championship since 2009 and third overall. Kosidowski noted that while a number of the players were on a state championship adapted soccer team three years ago, it’s the first floor hockey title for all of them.
St. Mane scored 13 goals in three state tournament games, including eight in the Hawks’ 9-3 victory over Anoka-Hennepin in the semifinals Saturday morning.
“He has the best hockey skill set on the team, and when he is on, he is on,” Kosidowski said. “He zoned in at the perfect time over the weekend.”
The Hawks finished 13-1, with their only loss to defending state champion New Prague. Dakota United and New Prague split two regular-season games.
North Suburban defeated New Prague 6-3 in the state semifinals to earn a chance to play for its second state title in three years.
Dakota United, which outshot North Suburban 37-20, pulled ahead 3-2 in the second period. In addition to St. Mane’s hat trick, senior forward Kennard Lyles had a goal for the Hawks.
Dakota United senior goalie Bryce Jahnke made 18 saves.
Kosidowski said he thought North Suburban was a better matchup for the Hawks than New Prague, but North Suburban goalie Nick Powers was going to be tough to beat.
“We needed our offense to be better than their goalie, which was difficult,” Kosidowski said. “The kids felt he was not beatable until Kennard put one in on him, then it was like blood in the water.”
The Hawks scored five goals in the second period of their semifinal victory over North Hennepin. Lyles had the one goal not scored by St. Mane and Jahnke made 36 saves.
Senior forward Tyler Lupie-Voss had three goals and two assists as Dakota United defeated St. Cloud 10-4 in the quarterfinal round Friday night. St. Mane had two goals and one assist. Carl Fagre, Emma Roiger, Lyles, Al Charles and Matthew Haugen had one goal each.
Fagre, Jahnke and St. Mane were named to the all-tournament team. Fagre and St. Mane also were all-tournament players for Dakota United’s state runner-up adapted soccer team last fall.
Jahnke, Fagre and the other seniors were seventh-graders in 2010, when Kosidowski became the sole head coach of the team. They set a goal of winning at least one state championship before that seventh-grade class graduated.
Dakota United finished second at state in 2011, but this season represented the last opportunity for the seniors.
“We had dynamite teams, but luck wasn’t always on our side,” Kosidowski said. “This year with New Prague being so good, we thought it would be tough again to win a championship.”
This year, however, was the Hawks’ year.
“These kids have some serious talent, but more than talent they had heart,” the coach said. “They never gave up, and stuck it out with me for six years. They all came to camps every summer and worked on improving their game.”
Dakota United lost to Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka 7-2 in the quarterfinal round of the state PI Division tournament. The Robins went on to win their fifth consecutive state title, while Dakota United won its next two games to earn the consolation championship.
Junior forward Nick Kuefler had five goals and two assists in the Hawks’ 9-5 victory over South Suburban in the consolation final Saturday afternoon. Sophomore forward Kyra Patterson scored twice and had four assists.
Junior forward Grayson Nicolay, who had missed most of the season because of an injury, returned in the state tournament and scored a hat trick as Dakota United beat Wayzata/Minnetonka 8-4 in the consolation semifinals. Kuefler also had three goals and Patterson scored twice.
Nicolay and Riley Wisniewski scored in the first-round loss to the Robins.
Kuefler was named to the all-tournament team from Dakota United, which finished 8-7.
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