In a first-of-its-kind season, the Dodge County hockey program is celebrating a first-time ever occurrence. The boys hockey team is going to the Minnesota state high school boys hockey tournament. The Wildcats beat Mankato West 4-3 Wednesday for the Section 1A crown, punching their ticket to St. Paul and the Xcel Energy Center.

The game was also the first-ever appearance in a section title game for the boys program. The Dodge County girls have made it as far as the Section 1AA finals a few times, but have yet to win a section title.

As a bonus, the boys were able to celebrate on home ice in Kasson. This season games were hosted at the high seed rather than going to a neutral site for the section semifinals and finals.

The top-seeded Wildcats jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead over the Scarlets on goals by Matt Donovan and Charlie Blaisdell, but plenty of drama was yet to come. West pulled within a goal after Ethan Fox scored about six minutes into the second period.

West started the third period with a 5-on-3 skater advantage and scored the tying goal 1:10 into the period by Gage Schmidt. Dodge County went back up 3-2 a few seconds after going back to full strength, Donovan's second goal came at 2:09.

Dodge County had a 5-on-3 power play a bit later. West completed the penalty kill then tied the game again at 6:10 at 3-3 on Sam O'Neil's goal.

The game-winning tally came from future Gopher and the state's leading scorer Brody Lamb at 7:59 for the 4-3 final margin. He also assisted on two goals. Isaac Dale backstopped the win. Wildcats student-body fans stormed the ice briefly to celebrate, garbed in Hawaiian clothing.

West (13-5-2) outshot the Wildcats (17-3-1) 30-22.

In Section 1AA, Lakeville South pulled away from Lakeville North for a 7-3 to advance to state for the fourth time in the last five seasons.


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