Matt Notermann delivered one of the biggest goals in the history of the Rochester Mayo boys hockey program.
It was February of 1999, the Spartans were facing bitter crosstown rival John Marshall in the Section 1 championship game, with a trip to the state tournament on the line.
Mayo had battled back from one-goal deficits three times in the game to force overtime with the score tied 4-4.
Neither team scored in the first overtime, so Mayo co-head coach Jeff Whitney approached Notermann, a first-line forward, prior to the start of the second OT. Whitney asked a simple question, “do you have enough left to go every-other shift?”
Notermann didn’t waste much energy with his reply. “I’ll go ‘til we win,” he told his coach.
That didn't take much longer. Notermann scored 15 seconds into the second OT to send Mayo to state for the sixth time in program history.
"I always remember being more nervous than anyone should be to play a hockey game," Notermann told the Post Bulletin in 2012, about that 1999 game. "Our senior class, other than Colin Nash, had never played in a state tournament. I remember looking at my best friends and seeing them almost in tears."
Notermann will now be on the other side of those player-coach conversations.
The 1999 Mayo grad was named the fourth head coach in Spartans history on Friday. He succeeds Todd Huyber, who resigned in mid-July after four seasons as Mayo’s head coach. Notermann joins Huyber, Lorne Grosso and Mayo Activities Directory Jeff Whitney as the only head coaches the Spartans have had.
Grosso served as the team’s head coach for 51 years, recording 707 wins, a record among Minnesota boys hockey head coaches.
“The things that all the alumni remember about Lorne,” Notermann said, “is that winning isn’t the point. Being a winner is. It’s about how you carry yourself. Prepare like a winner, show up on game day looking like a winner. A lot of teams I see now wear shirts and ties (on game days). In the ’90s when I played, we were one of the rare teams to do it.”
While serving as an assistant with Huyber for the past four seasons, Notermann said his knowledge of the Xs and Os side of the game has grown exponentially.
“Hybes is one of the more important guys to me that I’ve worked with as far as coaching,” Notermann said. “I don’t know anyone who has such a limitless bag of ideas and drills. If something unexpected popped up, he’d pull answers out of his back pocket.”
Following his graduation from Mayo High, Notermann played two years of junior hockey in the America West Hockey League, for Butte (Mont.) and Minot (N.D.). He then played four seasons at Concordia College in Moorhead.
As an assistant in recent years, Notermann has excelled at teaching the game and doing it with patience. It’s not all about wins and losses, he said, but it’s about helping young men improve as athletes and people.
“I believe with every fiber of my body that coaching is about patience,” he said, “and helping young guys understand that their mistakes are moments to learn from.”
Mayo went 10-16-1 a year ago, but it heated up and played its best hockey down the stretch, going 6-2-0 in its final eight games before falling to eventual section champion Lakeville South in the Section 1AA quarterfinals.
“Honestly, I know it’s a lot of pressure to live up to a guy who coaches for 50 years, to take care of the program,” Notermann said, “but this means a lot to me. I’m very, very excited to get going.”