North Shore goalie Cameron Roy made 34 stops Tuesday, Feb. 20, against Hermantown in the Section 7A quarterfinals, but the Hawk attack came fast and furious as they topped the Storm 8-1.
The Storm started the first period well, with Roy stopping several shots and North Shore killing off an early penalty, but Hermantown's Darian Gotz scored 7 minutes, 10 seconds into the first period. The Hawks would add three more goals before the end of the period and another three in the second, leaving the Storm down 7-0 and looking for answers.
North Shore's Ethan Sporn scored 2:44 into the third period with assists from Shane Torgersen and Cole Komarek, but the Storm managed only 15 shots on goal and couldn't close the gap in the last few minutes of the game.
On Saturday, Feb. 17, North Shore's defense played much better in a shutout win over Proctor in Two Harbors.
The defense did a much better job protecting Roy, who had to stop only 16 shots to record the shutout, according to Storm coach Mike Guzzo.
"I think the big thing was we played an aggressive floor check," he said. "We were really aggressive in keeping the puck at our end of the rink. It's almost like a full-court press in basketball and that minimized the amount of shots they got in."
The teams played to a scoreless first period, but the game turned in the blink of an eye less than a minute into the second. Proctor was attacking the North Shore goal, with several defensemen playing in or near the crease. One of the defenders touched the puck in the crease, resulting in a covering penalty and a penalty shot for the Rails.
Roy blocked the shot and on the ensuing play, Torgersen flipped the puck from near the North Shore goal back toward the other end and instead of a North Shore player catching up to it or an icing call, the puck slipped by Proctor goalie Lucas Nordquist.
"I was watching the whole play and it was getting really close - I thought Mason Myers was going to catch up to it and he just missed," Guzzo said. "We had a golden chance to burn them on it and then the next thing we know it's, 'Whoa, we scored.' Then, 12 seconds later, we scored again. That game turned real quick."
Spencer Jackson scored the second goal in the sequence following the faceoff, with an assist from Meyer and Sporn. Meyer then added an empty net goal with less than 30 seconds to play.
North Shore (9-13-3) heads into the offseason with a number of questions, particularly on offense, with leading scorer Chad Nordean graduating along with nine other Storm players.
North Shore 0-2-1-3
First period - No scoring.
Second period - 1. NS, Shane Torgersen (Cole Komarek), 1:01; 2. NS, Spencer Jackson (Mason Meyer, Ethan Sporn), 1:13.
Third period - 3. Meyer (Sporn), 16:36 (en).
Saves - Lucas Nordquist, P, 29; Cameron Roy, NS, 16.
North Shore 0-0-1-1
First period - 1. H, Darian Gotz (Trent Madill, Elliot Peterson), 7:10; 2. H, Brandon Schmidt (Jake Hausmann, Ben Siljendahl), 8:26; 3. H, Tyler Watkins (Indio Dowd, Blake Biondi), 13:47; 4. H, Biondi (Watkins, Siljendahl), 14:31.
Second period - 5. H, Biondi (Watkins, Siljendahl), 3:22; 6. H, Schmidt (Siljendahl, Hausmann), 4:45; 7. H, Watkins (Biondi, Jacob Herter), 16:45.
Third period - 8. NS, Ethan Sporn (Shane Torgersen, Cole Komarek), 2:44; 9. H, Sam High (Wyatt Sonneson, Drew Sams), 12:17.
Saves - Cameron Roy, NS, 34; Cole Manahan, H, 10; Austin Hess, H, 4.