Mounds View Mustangs: Reflecting On Better Times

Out of nowhere it seems the Mustangs came, atleast in part, to turn out to be the best hockey team coming out of Region 2 for the better part of 10 years. According to my resources (which are limited), the Mustangs never even won a quarterfinal sectional game until 1968. Then they sort of hit their nicknames stride and started racing. It's true once the Mustangs reached the state tournament they didn't do a whole lot of winning. But what matters most is from the late '60s to late '70s, the Mustangs were probably at their peak in competitiveness. And though nobody hears nor cares for them since then, the Mustangs did have their one shining moment, which should matter to somebody, even if in the long run it means mattering to nobody.

Mounds View was coached by a guy by the name of Tom Wegleitner. I'm assuming he had a kid by the name of Ted Wegleitner who played on the '76 and '77 state tournament teams. A Mike Funk coached the '78 state tournament team. Or so the story goes...

As I said before, in 1968 Mounds View (19-3-1) seemed to skyrocket into prominence. The Mustangs beat Coon Rapids 6-1, Brookly Center 3-1, and destroyed White Bear Lake in the regional final 7-0. The Mustangs first tournament appearance was no fluke. They lost in the quarters to eventual champ Greenway Colleraine, 4-3 in OT. They came back in the consolation semis against old powerhouse International Falls with four goals in the third period to win, 5-4. They lost to Roseau for 5th place, 3-2. Guys by the name of Tim Tyson and Bart Buetow made the All Tournament Team. Brad Buetow was also a teammate.

In 1969, the Mustangs (10-10-2) path to the tournament was more difficult. They beat Anoka 4-1 in the quarters. Then they had a semi final victory over Kellogg, 4-3 in 2 OT's. They beat Alexander Ramsey 3-1 in regional finals. The latter two
teams would wind up giving them difficulties in regionals in the future. At state quarterfinals they lost to eventual champ Edina 5-0. However, goalie Terry Moores played very well, stopping 35/40 shots. In consolation semis they'd lose again to Greenway 4-1. And so the season was over. But an especially triumphant one for a .500 club.

From 1970-75 it appeared the Mustangs would hed back down the road to where they came: a team nobody knows anything about. In 1970 they lost a heartbreaker to White Bear Lake in the regional final, 3-2 in OT. In 1971, those pesky Bears got 'em again with a 4-1 victory in the region semis. Another heartbreaker in the '72 quarters to Irondale, 4-3 in 2 OT's. In '73, Alexander Ramsey won the quarter matchup, 3-2 in OT. (Ramsey would go on to win their third straight regional.) In '74, another crusher in the regional final, this time to Kellogg, 3-2 in OT. In the '75 semifinals, an embarrassing 7-3 to Cloquet.

Well, suprisingly to this author, the best was yet to come. In '76 Mounds View rolled over Blaine 5-1 and Duluth Cathedral 10-2. They beat Duluth East 3-1 in the region final. After a seven year absence, it felt good to be back. The Mustangs
lost to second-placers Richfield in the quarters, 4-3. They beat up on Henry Sibley in the consolation semis, 5-1. But they lost to Kennedy for 5th, 4-3 in OT. A guy by the name of Rob McClanahan was really good. He had four goals and three assists for the tourney.

In '77 the Mustangs kept their nose in every regional game. A 3-2 victory over Irondale and a 5-4 win over Duluth Cathedral. In the region finals they beat Duluth East 4-2. The Mustangs entered the tournament with a record of 23-1. You'd thought a record like that would win them the state tournament. But it wasn't meant to be... a 5-1 loss to Grand Rapids followed by 5-3 loss to former undefeated Roseau in the consolation semis.

In '78 the Mustangs (18-9) took their time scoring goals. They beat Coon Rapids 2-0 and Alexander Ramsey 2-1. Then the flood gates opened as they doubled up on Duluth East in the region final, 8-4. This would be the Mustangs swan song, so it was important to end it with some hardware. They beat SSP in the quarters, 5-4 in OT, thanks to Pete Eastman. They lost to Grand Rapids 4-2 in the semis. And then another loss to Roseau for 3rd place, 5-3, due in large part to those dang Broten's! Goalie Gifford Duffy played extremely well in that one, stopping 34/39 shots.

And so that would be the end of the glory years for the Mounds View Mustangs. They lost 3-1 to Irondale in the '79 region semis. Irondale would take over as the new kings of Region 2, winning three straight from '79-81. In fact Mounds View would not win another regional quarter until '87. Their only other key victory after that is the trivia-worthy one in the '92 quarters, upsetting Brian Bonin's Bears 3-2 behind a guy by the name of Kavelevog or something. Like much of the rest of Mustang hockey history--nobody seems to know, and no one seems to care. But from 1968-78, they did seem to matter.


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