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Tartan's Mike Friberg fires a shot on St. Louis Park goaltender Will Harkema while sliding to the ground. St. Louis Park's Sean Berens, left, trails the play. Photo by Loren Nelson

Mike Friberg took a stick to the gut in the third quarter, then headed to the sideline.
 
The Tartan junior midfielder had been through this before, so he knew what was coming.
 
Coming up, that is.
 
“It happened to me in hockey a couple of months ago, too,” said Friberg, a Tartan junior midfielder. “I just got hit weird and lost my dinner.”

Tartan's Mike Friberg scored three goals, including the game winner, in the Titans' victory over St. Louis Park. Photo by Loren Nelson

Tartan coach Rick Dickinson tried to put a positive spin on the momentary loss of one of his most invaluable players. 
 
“He’s over there getting rid of dinner so he could lighten his load for the fourth quarter,” Dickinson said with a grin about Friberg’s “recovery” during the Titans’ bizarre 7-6 Minnesota Boys Scholastic Lacrosse Association victory over St. Louis Park on Thursday, May 24, at St. Louis Park Junior High School.
 
Friberg did, indeed, return to the game in the fourth quarter. Just in time to be whacked in the helmet by the Orioles’ Sean Berens after Friberg had skidded to the turf on his backside along the sideline.
 
“He took off two of the straps on my helmet with his stick,” Friberg said about Berens, who was assessed multiple penalties on the play, including a game ejection. “It just came straight down on my head.”
 
Friberg is nothing if not resilient. He popped back up and once again rejoined the fray – muddy, battered but unbowed.
 
The game-deciding scene hadn’t yet been performed. After all he had been through, it wouldn’t be right if Friberg didn’t play a role.
 
With the game tied and less than 2 minutes remaining, Friberg found a sliver of an opening, juked past a St. Louis Park defender and whipped a shot that sailed between the right post and past Orioles goaltender Will Harkema.
 
“He’s our top middie -- he was an all-state player last year as a sophomore -- so we expect that out of him,” Dickinson said about Friberg, who has 42 (27 goals, 15 assists) points this season. “We’ve got a couple of other guys that are capable of it, but he’s certainly the guy we lean on when we need one.”
 
The dramatic finish led to a wild postgame celebration for the No. 8-ranked Titans, who surrendered a five-goal halftime lead and lost a one-goal game to No. 4 Hudson on May 16. 
 
This time it was Tartan that rallied in the second half. The Titans overcame a 5-2 deficit to beat the No. 6 Orioles.
 
“We just came alive, I guess,” Friberg said.

Tartan's Dylan Klooz fires a shot during the first half of the Titans' victory over St. Louis Park. Photo by Loren Nelson

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Mike Friberg

Mike Friberg scored with 1 minute, 28 seconds remaining to complete his hat trick and lift Tartan past St. Louis Park 7-6 in a Minnesota Boys Scholastic Lacrosse Association matchup that included a game ejection, three-man advantage for a full-minute for Tartan and appearance by the police after a heated exchange between fans.
 
Tartan players erupted on the sideline after Friberg’s dash to the net and wicked sailed past standout St. Louis Park goaltender Will Harkema.
 
The celebration was even more intense after the final horn, as the No. 8-ranked Titans (9-2) alternately mobbed Friberg and goaltender Zach Wydra after knocking off the No. 6 Orioles (8-4).
 
Tartan failed to score despite a rare three-man advantage in the fourth quarter. St. Louis Park long-stick midfielder Sean Berens was ejected after whacking Friberg on the helmet after Friberg had fallen to the turf on the sideline. The Orioles received two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties – including one to Berens – on top of the original slashing call.
 
St. Louis Park rallied to tie the score at 6 with 3:33 remaining as Matt Harkema found a hole in the middle of the Tartan defense and steamrolled to the net on his way to his third goal.
 
Tartan trailed 5-2 at halftime but scored all four third quarter goals to surge in front. Two of the goals came from Chase Nihart in a span of just more than 2 minutes.
 
Harkema was the busier of the two goaltenders, finishing with eight saves, many of them on close-range chances. Wydra had seven saves.
 
Officials halted the game in the second half and asked the head coaches from both teams to go to the far sideline and quiet a disturbance between fans. Eventually, police arrived and interviewed spectators, although some of the instigators had already been asked to leave.

1. Mike Friberg, Tartan
Friberg, a junior midfielder who ranks second on the Titans with 41 points (27 goals, 14 assists), was at the center of all of the games biggest moments. He took a whack to the head while sliding to the turf to draw a game ejection and what proved to be a three-man advantage and scoring the game-winning goal with less than 2 minutes remaining.

2. Chase Nihart, Tartan
A sophomore who has scored at least one goal in all but one of the Tartan’s 11 games, Nihart scored twice in Tartans’ four-goal third quarter as they rallied to to take the lead.

3. Matt Harkema, St. Louis Park
Harkema was a the Orioles’ most consistent scoring threat all game. He finished with three goals, including one on a clutch bit of misdirection and then a bull rush to the goal late in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 6.

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