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Elk River/Zimmerman Hockey Takes Town on Wild Ride to Sixth Place at Class AA Tournament

Elk River/Zimmerman Hockey Takes Town on Wild Ride to Sixth Place at Class AA Tournament

For the first time in nearly two decades, Elk River/Zimmerman qualified for the Class AA State Hockey Tournament, knocking off top-seeded Moorhead in the Section 8AA semifinals and then defeating Buffalo in the Section 8 Championship game up in St. Cloud to earn a spot in “The Tourney.” 

In the State AA Tournament, the Thundering Elks used strong goaltending and defense to keep the game at 1-0 after top-ranked Edina scored early in the quarterfinal. After the Elks nearly capitalized on a scoring chance in the second period, Edina turned on its offense, scoring twice in 40 seconds and another goal less than 100 seconds later to make it 4-0. They would eventually build a 6-0 lead. 

A couple of highlight reel goals cut the deficit to 6-2, but the Hornets would advance, eventually going on to beat Chanhassen in a thriller for the State AA Championship - their 14th as a school. 

In the consolation bracket, ERHS/ZHS dominated the White Bear Lake Bears in the semifinal, scoring twice early and attacking WBL throughout for a 5-0 win. It was the program’s first win at any state tournament since 2004.

In the Consolation Championship, it was a familiar foe - Centennial - standing in the way of fifth place. The Cougars raced out to a 2-0 lead, but a strong second period for the Thundering Elks evened the game at 2-2. It would stay that way until late in the final period, when CHS scored with under 1 minute to go, pulling out a 3-2 win to earn the hardware. 

Cooper Anderson, senior, earned a spot on the All AA Tournament Team, receiving his award Saturday night at the sold out final at Xcel Energy Center. 

In addition to that, Anderson was also named All Northwest Suburban Conference, along with teammates Gavin Greniuk, Braden Hansberger and Kole Mears. 

Coach Ben Gustafson was named Section 8AA Coach of the Year, while Joel Wesloh was named the section’s Assistant Coach of the Year. 

Here's a link to the sendoff the boys received at Lincoln and Parker Elementary Schools on Thursday, March 7. 

Congrats to the Thundering Elks Program!