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Boys hockey: White Bear Lake curse continues with 20th straight first-round exit

The Bears are the Minnesota sports of boys hockey.
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White Bear Lake hockey fans endured more agony Thursday night as the No. 4 Bears exited the first-round of the boys state hockey tournament for the 20th consecutive time.

The last-gasp 2-1 Class AA defeat to No. 5 Grand Rapids stretches White Bear Lake's remarkable run of rotten luck another year, with the team now 0-20 quarterfinal games in a run that stretches back to the first ever state tourney in 1945.

Thursday's exit was particularly painful after Jack Stanius had given the Bears hope of ending the unfortunate streak by tying up the game 1-1 with just 1:34 left.

Step forward Grand Rapids forward Nathan Garski, who with just 1.6 seconds left in regulation scored to send the Thunderbirds through to the semifinal against No. 1 Edina on Friday.

Below is the moment it happened, courtesy of KSTC 45TV.

Even in a state that has never won a Super Bowl, NBA Championships or Stanley Cup, and whose baseball team went on a 20-year streak – ended this past fall – without winning a playoff game, White Bear Lake's quarterfinal loss record is remarkable.

Not that it mattered to WBL coach Chris Anderson, who told media after the game: "I mean the quarterfinal thing isn’t a thing for us. We don’t think about it. We don’t talk about it."

"I think everybody predicted a one-goal game, and at the end of the day, that’s what it was," he added, per Legacy Hockey. "We just needed to find one more there at the end."