Boys hockey records two upset victories in-a-row

Whenever you see Hopkins sports in the news it’s about the basketball program. However, HHS boys hockey has been turning heads as they beat two top-ranked teams in the state.

Saturday Dec. 14th, Hopkins traveled to face Cloquet (ranked 20th prior to the game). The royals upset Cloquet, on the road, with a 2-1 overtime win.

Three days later, Tuesday Dec. 17th, the Royals hit the road again to face undefeated, 12th ranked, White Bear Lake. Once again, the Royals pulled off a 2-1 overtime victory.

“It was amazing. They were undefeated and we upset them. It was the highlight of my hockey career,” said Noah Bragg, junior.

The energy was high in the Vadnais Sport Center on Tuesday. White Bear Lake had the lead early, and for the majority of the game. Jack Sweeney, sophomore, scored for Hopkins to tie the game in the third period. Josh Laven, junior, scored with 1:52 left in overtime to give the royals the victory.

“The rush after the goal was great. Watching the video afterwards, watching the team pile up, was really cool,” Laven said, “No one believed we could beat White Bear Lake. We proved to everyone we can compete.”

Laven, who leads the team in goals and points, believes the past two victories proved to everyone Hopkins is a top ranked hockey program.

“This win gives us momentum, because we know we can compete with Lake Conference teams now,” said Josh Kuechmichael, junior goalie.

Kuechmichael saved 30 of the 31 shots he faced against White Bear Lake. Kuemichael is having an outstanding season; being recognized as one of the top goalies in the state with a .933 save percentage. He has proved to players, fans, and coaches that he is ready to step up and be the royals starting goaltender.

“We are turning heads for sure. People didn’t expect us to beat the teams we have beat,” said Jimmy Copouls, senior captain.

Copouls has been in the Hopkins Hockey Association since elementary school and recalls the moments of other big Hopkins hockey upsets. He got his chance to be a part of another Hopkins upset and said it was exhilarating.

“The rush of it was great. The whole team came out and piled on top of one another,” said Copouls.

The royals play Coon Rapids Saturday Dec. 21st and hope to get above a .500 record. The last two upsets put the royals right on the .500 number as they are 4-4.