Dylan Godbout of Hill-Murray – Twin Towns
Dylan Godbout described himself as a “quiet little boy” when he joined the Hill-Murray hockey program as an eighth grader.
Five years later, he’s still not the most talked about player, but there’s nothing calm about his game or his leadership. He is part of a group of captains that also includes senior defenders Leo Gruba and Axel Begley. This trio, said Pioneers coach Bill Lechner, did a great job of cementing the program culture within this year’s squad.
For Godbout, Lechner noted, most of this work is done by example.
“And when he talks, he talks and they listen. That’s growth,” Lechner said. “He has come a long way. … They know he’s one of the bosses and you better do it, because he’s letting you know. And he saw it too.
Lechner noted that Godbout has the innate ability to know what the right play is and make it. Often this play is for the University of Wisconsin to commit to burying the puck in the net. The forward has done that 29 times this season, to go with 24 assists while leading the Pioneers to the No. 1 seed in this week’s Class 2A State Tournament, where they will meet unranked Lakeville South in quarter-finals at 6 p.m. Thursday at St. Paul.
Beware of Godbout on such a big stage against such great competition under such bright lights. This is where he tends to shine.
“I’ve always been told that good players play well under pressure, and when I play under pressure, that’s what I do,” Godbout said. “I like big games. I’m not a big fan of the scrappy game genre. But when we play good teams and have good competition, that’s when I do better and play better. of my abilities.
That’s why Godbout has scored six goals in his last five games, that’s why he scored twice as many in Hill-Murray’s 3-2 State Tournament semifinal win over St. Thomas Academy as a sophomore en route to a state title, and that’s why the forward is Pioneer Press East Metro’s Men’s Hockey Player of the Year.
“He always rises to the occasion,” Lechner said. “The tougher and better the teams, the better he plays and the calmer he is.”
That should bode well for this week.
“That’s my plan,” Godbout said. “Playing well under pressure against big teams on a high-caliber stage.”
Managing pressure is nothing new for Godbout. Lechner imagines he had a lot to do to get into the Hill-Murray program. Godbout is a third generation Pioneer. His father, Jason, and uncle, Brent, led the Pioneers to a state championship in the early 1990s before playing for the Gophers.
There was a legacy to honor when he arrived.
“You’re in that room, he sees his dad’s trophies and pictures sitting there,” Lechner said. “I think the pressure was on him.”
Earning a state title in sophomore probably made everything that was there easier. Godbout had his state title. But that actually only made the striker hungrier for more.
“It paved the way for me,” Godbout said. “It raised my standards as a hockey player and as a person, that OK, I won a state tournament, but now I want to do more.”
He wanted to captain the Pioneers and he wanted to win another championship. He filled the first one this season, taking great pride in leading his team. He makes a point of uplifting others and ensuring everyone performs to their highest potential.
The previously silent child now carries one of the greatest voices. Lechner enjoys the relationship he has with the eldest. He realized long ago that Godbout’s composure was a product of his intensity — a trait the coach shares.
“There are times when we argue, because we’re both very competitive and very driven,” Lechner said.
But any disagreement always ends with a “punch” between the two at the end.
“We’re tough on each other…but at the end of the day, we get together as a family and we’re ready to attack the next day,” Godbout said. “At the end of the day, there’s nothing else I’d rather want.”
Godbout said his intensity was born out of a desire to always want to be better.
“There are times when you want to take it negatively, but from what I’ve won this year, it’s just learning from your mistakes and making a game of it,” Godbout said. “You’re going to screw up in training, but if you don’t in the game then all good things happen.”
Marko Belak, senior goalkeeper, Cretin-Derham Hall: The goaltender has stopped 94% of the shots he’s faced this year while bringing the Raiders back to the state.
Drew Fisher, senior striker, Cretin-Derham Hall: The all-around forward has 28 goals and 31 assists for a team-high 59 points.
Leo Gruba, senior defender, Hill-Murray: Gruba is part of a fierce blue line for the Pioneers. Has a dynamite shot that has produced 11 goals and 21 assists this season.
Barrett Hall, senior striker, Gentry Academy: Had 25 goals and 30 assists in just 25 games for the Stars.
Tanner Ludtke, junior forward, Lakeville South: The Nebraska-Omaha commitment has 22 goals and 38 assists for the state-bound Cougars.