Grand Rapids reflects on winning Section 7AA championship

Grand Rapids reflects on winning Section 7AA championship

Grand Rapids reflects on winning Section 7AA championship

It wouldn’t be high school hockey playoff season without a dramatic finish. Thursday night, after an official review in double overtime, Grand Rapids boys hockey was crowned Section 7AA champions knocking off four-time defending champions Andover 3-2.

The game winning goal came from Thunderhawk sophomore Seth Carlson.

“I just put it on net and it went off of his shoulder and bounced up and just went in. It’s just amazing. We worked so hard this year and it just feels great to be going to the X,” Carlson said.

“Thinking is a lot different than believing, and they believed the whole way through. I just couldn’t be more happy for those kids,” Grant Clafton added, head coach of the Thunderhawks.

Carlson also scored the game-tying goal in the third period to make it 2-2. Grand Rapids trailed 2-0 early in the second period, then scored three unanswered goals to win their first section title since 2017.

Aiding in their comeback was sophomore goaltender Carter Casey. Between the pipes for just under 62 minutes he would tally 31 saves through regulation and into two overtimes.

“You just got to keep battling. You don’t really care how long the game goes, you just want to win so bad and get down to the X. Lot of blocked shots, defense doing a good job clearing them out in front so I can see the puck. But I mean we just battled and credit to my defense because we blocked so many shots in front of me,” Casey said.

Grand Rapids’ Section 7AA championship game is available for replay HERE.

State tournament brackets are expected to be released Saturday. The Class AA quarterfinals are Thursday, with the Class A quarterfinals Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.