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Dakota United PI team slips at state

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sports Hastings, 55033
Hastings Minnesota 745 Spiral Boulevard 55033

The Dakota United Hawks PI adaptive floor hockey team competed at the state tournament March 18 and 19. They had a good season, posting a 9-1-1 record and earning the No. 1 seed going into the tournament, but the competition at state wore them down.

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The team started strong with a 10-2 win over Anoka Friday, March 18. Grayson Nicolay, a seventh-grader from Rosemount Middle School, stole the show that game, scoring six goals.

"He did really well that game," said assistant coach Ross Klingelhut.

Saturday the Hawks faced Brainerd. Within the first five minutes, however, they found themselves playing catch-up.

"We got down 3-0 immediately," Klingelhut said.

The Hawks rallied, however, and tied the game at 5-5. With 1:06 left in the game, Brainerd took the lead again. The Hawks coaches put all their players forward, but they weren't able to answer. With 19 seconds left, Brainerd scored again to defeat the Hawks 7-5.

Klingelhut pins the loss on the Hawks' early deficit. Dakota United outplayed Brainerd in the last two periods, but weren't able to recover from the first.

The Hawks' goalie, Cullen McConnell from Rosemount, made about 15 saves. Liz Kimmes, an eighth-grade defensive chair from Hastings, made about 12 saves.

Just a couple hours after fighting Brainerd for a shot at the championship, the Hawks had to play a second game against Maple Grove for the third-place spot. Dakota United should have been able to beat Maple Grove, Klingelhut said, but had burned all their energy against Brainerd.

"Our team was pretty exhausted," he said.

Maple Grove won, 5-2.

Two athletes were named to the all-tournament team. They were Nicolay and Eric Liggett, a senior from East View High School. Liggett earned 166 career points in his six years with the Hawks and claimed the No. 11 spot on the team's all-time high scoring list. This year he scored 37 assists, which earned him the No. 10 spot on their all-time season assists list.

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