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Raiders skate to Schwan's Cup title

The last time the Raider boys hockey team won three games in three days it came home with a state championship from Madison.

Last week it brought back a trophy as champion of the Bronze Division at the prestigious Schwan's Cup.

Hudson went 3-0 at the three-day tournament, shutting out St. Paul Academy, 6-0, Tuesday, Dec. 26, Rogers, 3-0, Wednesday, Dec. 27, and topping Minnehaha Academy, 7-2, in the title game Thursday, Dec. 28, at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.

It's the first holiday tournament title for Hudson in 15 years. The last one came at the Duluth Holiday Tournament in 2002 when current head coach Brooks Lockwood and assistants Davis Drewiske, Ben Bosworth and Ben Mettler were teammates.

"We played well," Lockwood said about last week's Schwan's Cup. "We wanted to go over there and be tested a little more and it was nice to see some of the new guys contribute. Hopefully it will set us up for the rest of the season."

The Raiders outshot St. Paul Academy 35-5 in the first round Tuesday at Schwan's Super Rink in Blaine while getting goals from six different players, including the first of the season for Dylan Carr.

Jordan Halverson, Peyton Hanson, Jack Flattum, Bennett Schrank and Harvey Dove also scored in the win. Dove and Schrank each picked up an assist as well while Ben Lundeen, Rece Lila, and Joe Martin had two apiece.

Hudson fired 48 shots on goal in its 3-0 win over Rogers Wednesday in Blaine while Raider goalie Alex Cohen stopped all 18 shots he faced for his second shutout in two days.

Grady Gornick scored the only goal of the first period, assisted by Schrank and Halverson, before Schrank made it a 2-0 game midway through the second with Gornick and Hanson assisting. Lundeen added an empty-netter with 1:16 remaining off an assist from Cole Danielson to make the final 3-0.

Hudson found itself trailing for the first time in the tournament when Minnehaha Academy scored two minutes into Thursday's title game at the U of M's Ridder Arena, but the Raiders came roaring back with three straight goals, then scored three more in the second period to clinch the Schwan's Cup title.

Flattum, Gornick and Danielson scored three minutes apart midway through the opening period to give Hudson a 3-1 lead, and after Minnehaha netted a shorthanded goal 1:29 into the second period, Danielson, Schrank and Halverson scored just 1:41 apart late in the second to break the game open. Halverson's second goal of the game at the 10:50 mark of the third made the final 7-2.

Lundeen dished out three assists in the title-clinching win while Hanson and Martin had two assists each. Cohen finished with nine saves as Hudson outshot Minnehaha, 46-11.

Lockwood said he hopes the Bronze Division title will help the Raiders move up a division at next year's Schwan's Cup.

"Last year we lost to Minneapolis in the first game so we didn't get a chance to get in the Silver Division," he said. "I think that might have been a little better fit for us."

Last year's opening round loss to Minneapolis was one of just two for Hudson on its way to the Wisconsin state championship. This year the top-ranked Raiders are off to a 10-0 start in their bid to repeat.

"I think we certainly we have a little more depth this year," Lockwood said. "We may not have the explosiveness or the physicality we had last year but it's a different makeup and a different team. They play hard every time out."

The Raiders open 2018 with a stiff test right off the bat this Thursday, Jan. 4, when second-ranked Eau Claire Memorial comes to Gornick Arena for a 7 p.m. faceoff. Lockwood said it will be the first of many challenges the Raiders will face in their bid to return to state.

"I think we'll really be tested here in the second half of the season with teams like Memorial," he said. "And we play Superior again and Waukesha and Green Bay Notre Dame, and even Eau Claire North and Chippewa Falls, who are playing better. The second half of the season will be more of a test for us."

Bob Burrows

Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.

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