BEMIDJI, Minn. (Valley News Live) -- It is game day for the Moorhead boys' hockey team as they aim to punch their ticket to the state tournament for the second consecutive season.
The dream fell short last year in the state championship game and every moment since has been aimed at getting back to finish the job and claim that elusive state title.
The Spuds are always aiming for that state championship and having been so close last year, it added some extra incentive and maybe even pressure this year.
Head coach Jon Ammerman telling Valley News Live Tuesday, he is confident the team is playing it's best hockey right now and that's in big part because that pressure has subsided a bit.
He called it anticipation, expectations, even equating it to some nerves.
They have looked anything but nervous as of late though. Shutting out both of their section tournament opponents and outscoring them 17-0 in those two games.
Ammerman saying this team is exceptional when the lights are the brightest.
Pointing out Lance Leonard, the Spuds goaltender who has yet to give up a goal in a section tournament game in two years.
And Carter Randklev, a senior forward with 15 points in his last five section tournament games alone. That also spans the course of two years.
Wednesday's opponent is a little different than the two the Spuds beat to get here though. St. Michael-Albertville plays a more physical brand of hockey.
Still Moorhead beating them 5-0 earlier this season.
The Spuds leadership prepared for a different team tonight though.
"These guys are going to be a hard working team," said senior forward Jack Stetz. "They're on like a ten game win streak, somewhere around there. I think they're going to be a different team than what we faced last time."
"They like to hit. They like to really get in your face so we just have to move the puck quick," added senior defenseman Parker Larson.
"They try and be very physical and I think if we can withstand that first five to ten minutes, we'll be successful," said Ammerman. "But both teams are going to be nervous and if we can calm down first and just play our game we should be good to go."
The Knights also stepping their game up defensively here late in the season, primarily in net. Allowing only four goals in their final nine regular season games.
The Spuds with a clear edge with a dynamic offensive attack though. Outscoring their opponents 15-8 in their last 11 games.