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Kerry Collins, Published March 15 2009

Moorhead Spuds come up empty 7th time

ST. PAUL – Now the hockey gods are getting just plain mean.

For the seventh time in 18 years, Moorhead made the Minnesota Class 2A state boys hockey title game.

For the seventh time, the Spuds had the best seats in the house for some other team’s on-ice celebration.

After falling to Eden Prairie

3-0 on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center, Moorhead now lays claim to the most runner-up finishes in tournament history.

“One of these days, we’ll get a break in one of these state championship games,” Morinville said. “But who knows? I’ll probably be in my grave when it happens.”

Eden Prairie was in its first state title game, and the Eagles weren’t sympathetic to Moorhead’s history.

For Spuds fans, the numbers read like a morbid roll call: 1992, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2004, 2005. Now add 2009 to that list.

It’s tough to stomach for Spuds fans right now, but Terry Cullen – who coached Moorhead in those first three title games – said there is nothing for Spuds fans to feel bummed about.

“A thing people have to realize is that it’s very tough just to get there,” said Cullen, who coached the Spuds from 1986-97. “It speaks volumes for the program. Even though you didn’t accomplish what they ideally went down there for, it’s still a helluva run.

“It’s still quite an accomplishment.”

The law of averages means that Moorhead has to get to the state championship game and win one of these times, doesn’t it?

But for every Boston Red Sox fan that says the Spuds will, there is a Minnesota Vikings fan that can make a case for the opposite.

Moorhead’s bad luck started early in this one. The Spuds had a goal waved off in the first period.

The sting of this one shouldn’t be as great as some of those in the past. For a team that entered the postseason with a 12-9-1 record, few expected them to be playing in Saturday’s state championship game.

“I was talking with Terry Shercliffe, and he said that this might be one of the least talented teams we brought down here, but look how far they got,” Morinville said. “That’s not a knock on these guys.

“We have nobody going Division I, and no major junior commitments. This was just a team.”

Still, that was little consolation to the Spuds as they became the latest group to collect silver medals at state.

“You go down there and do the best you can,” Cullen said. “If we would’ve gone down there and played poorly or not showed up one night, then you can feel bad.

“I don’t think it’s frustrating. It’s a major accomplishment just to play in that game.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

Collins’ blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com