The Moorhead Spuds will return to the pinnacle of high school hockey in Minnesota Thursday night as they'll play in the state hockey tournament for a sixteenth time.
Tremendous players have skated in Bloomington or St. Paul from Matt Cullen to Brian Lee. Michael Bitzer to Carter Randklev. Each have had a star turn at state, but all have been denied that elusive state championship.
The Spuds have the most runner-up finishes in state history at eight. It's a stat that no one likes to discuss in Moorhead.
This year's trip to state coincides with the ten year anniversary of a memorable Moorhead team. The 2009 Spuds lost eight straight games, but found a way to return to the XCel Energy Center. They matched up with Edina, the top team in the state, who had the top player, Anders Lee, who now plays for the New York Islanders.
Moorhead scored early and found themselves to be the darlings of the crowd. They rode that momentum to a 5-2 win en route to an unlikely state championship game appearance, where they lost to Eden Prairie.
Ten years later and it's deja vu all over again. The Spuds are at state, and will play top seed Edina in the first round. It may not be David against Goliath, but for out-state Minnesota it's pretty darn close. The out-staters against the rich kids.
A chance for the Spuds to prove once again they belong in the consideration with the big boys in Minnesota hockey.
The Spuds may lose tomorrow night, but even if you don't like hockey or don't care of Moorhead, you should be cheering for them. Doesn't everybody like a good underdog?