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Ryan Lund carrying a heavy workload for state-bound Warroad

Mar. 5—ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ryan Lund doesn't often leave the ice.

"If it were up to him," Warroad coach Jay Hardwick said, "he'd try to stay out there the whole game."

The Warroad senior defenseman is racking up incredible minute totals for the Warriors, who will play in the Minnesota state Class A boys hockey tournament this week in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.

He's rarely under 30 minutes in a game.

He's often over 40.

In the Section 8A championship game last Saturday against East Grand Forks Senior High, Lund played a whopping 50 minutes, 9 seconds of a game that lasted 62:18. Warroad won 4-3 in double overtime.

"He's kind of like a racehorse," Hardwick said. "He's big and strong and fast. He competes hard every shift. He's the type of kid where he wants to be on the ice. He wants the puck on his stick. He plays a ton of minutes for us. There are times when we've got to get him off the ice just to get him a little bit of a rest."

Lund, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, has piled up the points this season, tallying 18 goals and 22 assists.

On Monday, he was named one of six finalists for the Reed Larson Award as the top senior defenseman in the state.

"He's tough to play against," Hardwick said. "He's big, strong and shoots the puck extremely hard. You notice him right away when he's out there."

Lund has been a key complement to Warroad's big top line of Carson Pilgrim, Taven James and Murray Marvin-Cordes, who have combined for 171 points this season.

One time this season, Lund even filled in at center.

Pilgrim became ill during Warroad's game against Bemidji on Feb. 13, so Hardwick moved Lund between James and Marvin-Cordes. Lund scored twice and added an assist in a 4-3 Warroad win.

Hardwick said the coaching staff doesn't have a target number on minutes per game for Lund.

"It's a feel thing," Hardwick said. "I've coached him long enough now. I've watched him play long enough — him being the same age as my son and playing together since mites — that I have a good feel for his game. There will be times I can tell he needs a breather. I'll tell our assistant we've got to get him just a minute (of rest) or whatever. Ryan doesn't want to come off the ice."

Lund said there are some strategies that allow him to play big minutes.

"In the offseason, I do a little bit of working out," Lund said. "But during the season, it's resting as much as I possibly can."

Warroad, the No. 2 seed, opens the state tournament at 11 a.m. Wednesday against New Ulm.

It is the third-straight trip to state for the Warriors, who lost to Mahtomedi 6-5 in double overtime in the championship game last season.

"Going to state the last two years has been really special," Lund said. "But getting second place has not been the greatest outcome. We're really looking forward to hopefully winning this year.

"It's really awesome to get to go with this group of guys. We've worked for it all year."

If Warroad wins in the quarterfinals, it will get a day off before Friday's semifinals. That might come in handy for Lund, who will see the ice a lot.

"He's a physical specimen," Hardwick said. "He's always been that way. This isn't something he's grown into or developed into. He's always been the kid who has been the biggest, probably fastest and strongest guy. Sometimes, it's hard to be that person. Ryan embraces it and uses it to his advantage."

Coach: Jay Hardwick.

Record: 23-5.

State history: Warroad has won four state championships — 1994, 1996, 2003 and 2005. Last season, it lost in the state championship game 6-5 in double overtime to Mahtomedi.

Top scorers: Sr. F Carson Pilgrim 29 goals, 34 assists, 63 points, jr. F Taven James 20-37—57, sr. F Murray Marvin-Cordes 24-27—51, sr. D Ryan Lund 18-22—40, soph. D Broden Hontvet 6-26—32, soph. F Dominic Anthony 9-8—17, soph. F Ryan Shaugabay 5-9—14, sr. F Damon Skappel 3-8—11, sr. D Will Hardwick 0-10—10.

Top goaltender: Sr. Ben Norris 23-5, 2.16 goals-against average, .895 save percentage, four shutouts.

Coach Hardwick says: "Getting to state is obviously our goal every year. This year was no different. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. It never is with the caliber of teams we have to face in Section 8. We knew East Grand Forks didn't graduate many guys last year and were going to bring back basically their whole team. So, they were going to be good. We knew it was going to be a battle. Our goal the whole year was to make it back to state. The kids have been saying they have unfinished business."

When: Wednesday-Saturday.

Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul.

Wednesday's quarterfinals: No. 2 Warroad vs. New Ulm, 11 a.m., No. 3 St. Cloud Cathedral vs. Northfield, 1 p.m., No. 1 Hermantown vs. Alexandria, 6 p.m., No. 4 Mahtomedi vs. Orono, 8 p.m.