SIOUX CITY, IOWA (KCAU) – The postseason road wasn’t easy for the Sioux City Metros. But after taking down one-seeded Kansas City in the Midwest High School Hockey League State Tournament semifinals 7-4, the Siouxland skaters knew they had the firepower to win it all.

“We’ve worked so hard all season that there’s no way we’re losing that game and I knew that none of the boys were gonna quit. We just kept going,” Metros junior forward Nate Solma said.

What they didn’t know is they’d be one skater short into Championship Sunday. Sophomore forward Ryan Hedquist sustained an injury in the crease late in the semis, causing pneumothorax and putting him in the emergency room where he learned 50 percent of his lung had collapsed. Doctors would insert a chest tube trying to suction air outside of his lung, but while improvement grew little by little, the Metros didn’t hesitate to rally around Ryan.

“We stayed in contact with the parents all night and realized he was probably going to be in the hospital for a few days a couple days at least. They rallied behind that, that’s all they talked about in the locker room,” Metros head coach Chad Lynch said.

“We were going into that game playing for because we all know he’s the hardest worker on the team. He’s just a great kid and we just I wanted to win for him,” Metros junior goalie Lochlin Jackson said.

Keeping Ryan on their minds, fans showed support with balloons and body pain, while the team hung his jersey on the bench throughout the title game. And with a 5-4 game-winning goal in overtime to give league MVP Nate Solma a hat trick against the Des Moines Oak Leafs, the Metros made true on their promise to themselves and to Ryan. Coming away with their 8th overall State Tournament crown.

“We all kind of came together and realize that we needed to realize that we needed to win this for him and then take the trophy to him and make sure he got to celebrate with us,” Metros senior forward Landon Topf said.

Though there is still air outside his lung, chest X-rays for Ryan are showing improvement and he is starting to feel better, hoping to be back home soon. And with the support the team gave Ryan, it was reciprocated by the Metros faithful in their return home. A moment the high school skaters won’t soon forget, cementing a brotherhood and the power within the puck.

“You can’t even explain it to be honest. I don’t even think it’s set in for me yet. It’s just another feeling that you have to be there to understand I feel like… it’s just an amazing moment, and I’ll cherish it for the rest of my life,” Metros senior defenseman Jo Hope said.