MAHTOMEDI, Minn. (WCCO) - The boys state hockey tournament starts Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center. Mahtomedi will be looking for its second state crown in three years, led by their goaltender.
Ben Dardis dons the helmet and pads and heads out to practice, for one last time, ahead of one last state tournament.
"We have him for three more games. His consistency, his demeanor, his competitiveness is all the backbone of this team," said Zephyrs Head Coach Jeff Poeschl.
Dardis has started in Mahtomedi's net for the last four years, including for a state title in 2020.
"I just was fortunate enough to find the position as a freshman and being able to make it. And through these four years it's been awesome," said Dardis.
Now, he's a Goalie of the Year finalist and leads the state in save percentage.
"Just the fact that you have the ability to control if your team is in the game or not, whether they're playing good or bad. So that's kind of why I play it and why I enjoy it," said Dardis, a senior caption for Mahtomedi.
Dardis carries a four game shutout streak into the state tournament, which was alive because of his performance against a Chisago Lakes penalty shot in the section final.
"[I was] just thinking, 'here we go,' gotta make a big save right here. So the guys came down, he made a move. I stayed with him the whole time and made the save. To hear the crowd go nuts was awesome," said Dardis.
It's a certain kind of athlete that wants the game in their hands.
"It's a good feeling. It's like, Ok, I'm doing something for my team and I'm doing my part to try to get my team the win," said Dardis.
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