The Northland Pines boys hockey team will face the Somerset Spartans in the semifinals of the 2020 WIAA State tournament starting Thursday, March 5.
This will be the first time in 16 years Northland Pines will be making an appearance in Madison.
"It's been awhile," said Riley McGee, a junior at Northland Pines. "It's a big thing for us. It's been our goal since we were in youth. Going with that team ever since we were, six, seven, knowing that once we got to high school we'd have the potential to do so. So, here it is in front of us. We're excited."
They've fallen just short of the state tournament the last couple of years.
"We've been in the position a couple times in the sectionals, where we've had really good teams and we've lost," said David Cox, Northland Pines head coach. "So coming into this year, there's a lot of experience there with the kids, so there's a calmness. We're just trying to keep them calm, open the door, and let them play."
"I think the biggest part is just controlling our emotions," said Brady Snedden, a senior at Northland Pines. "We've had a little bit of an issue this year, but in the playoffs, we've been able to control it and, hopefully, we can keep that going."
In order to get back to the winning tradition Eagle River is used to.
"Our community has done such a good job," Cox said. "If you look at the rink here and what they've did in the past year to bring this place together. It's a hallowed place. Winning is expected in Eagle River and we want to make sure we do a good job for our community and bring it back home for them."
"Playing for the community and the town will be big, to bring it back for our families and the community," McGee said.