The Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake Moose entered the Class A State Tournament as a group of relative unknowns. Just one player, Ben Ward at No. 49, cracked the list of the Star Tribune’s top-50 players in the tournament. By contrast, Delano and Hermantown had five each.
By the time the tournament ended, no one had more stars shine during the weekend than the Moose.
In an awards ceremony immediately following the game, MAML had four players selected to the Class A All-Tournament team, the most of any team in the class.
“It means a lot to us to be able to have a few participants on that,” said Zwack, one of the four honorees, an hour removed from the heartbreaking end to the season Saturday.
The senior forward was joined on the team by Ben Ward, Charlie Voller and Tyler Klatt – all selected for their outstanding play during MAML’s three-game run.
Zwack scored four goals and added an assist during the tournament, scoring at least once during every game. The senior forward provided one of the highlights of the tournament Friday, scoring with just three seconds left to beat Northfield in the semifinal round.
Ward, the top-line center for MAML, put himself on the map with his play this week. The junior scored twice and assisted on five goals for a team-best seven points during the tournament. He also got the best of his opponents in the face-off circle in two of the three state games.
Ward said proving he belonged on the ice with the more heralded stars wasn’t something he thought about coming into the tournament, but that it was a nice perk.
“To be on the map now, I guess, is a special feeling,” he said. “You just gotta keep playing your best, and whatever happens, happens.”
The center added that being selected for the all-tournament team was an honor.
“It’s great,” he said. “I’ve watched a lot of great hockey players lately, and to be on that team is pretty special.”
Voller picked up three helpers on the week, but his impact was even better measured by eye than by stats. The senior defenseman foiled any number of opponents chances during the week, constantly putting out fires in the defensive zone.
The honor was still sinking in for Voller, following the championship game Saturday.
“It’s really special,” he said. “A lot of guys, a lot of good hockey players have been on that team over the years. I’ve watched from the stands, I’ve watched from home on TV … I never would’ve expected to be on there.”
MAML’s last honoree spent his weekend minding the visitor’s net at the X. Klatt, MAML’s junior goaltender, played his best hockey of the season on the biggest stage in the state. The junior netminder was nothing short of brilliant in the championship loss Saturday, which was just a continuance of his entire postseason. Klatt stopped 106 shots, while allowing just eight goals for a blistering save percentage of .930 at state.
“You need a brick wall back there and he was a stalwart for us all weekend here,” said Moose Coach Eric Nelson.
Voller, who spent most of the weekend trying to give Klatt space to see in front of his net, said his goaltender was “unbelievable.”
“Can’t give him [enough] credit,” said Voller. “He stood on his head.”
There were 12 total players on the Class A All-Tournament team. Hermantown had three (Dylan Samberg, Jesse Jacques, and Ryan Sandelin), Delano (Andrew Kruse, Ben Meyers) and St. Cloud Cathedral (Jake Levinski and Jake Van Halbeck) had two each, while East Grand Forks (Casey Kallock) had one.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at [email protected]