To be fair, St. Thomas Academy’s 7-0 drubbing of Little Falls was a good two hours removed from the first period when Cadets coach Greg Vannelli made a postgame statement: his team didn’t play well in the opening 17 minutes.
Maybe he forgot the Cadets scored 38 seconds into the game, eventually took a 3-0 lead and outshot the Flyers 20-3. Still reason to nit-pick, coach? Vannelli grinned.
“Coaches just look at things differently,” he said. “We were certainly happy with being ahead, but coaches are never satisfied.”
This has to be about as close as it gets. No. 2 seed STA scored on the power play, shorthanded and even strength in the first period and poured it on from there en route to the shutout.
The Cadets finished with a 42-15 shots on goal advantage over the unseeded Flyers, who spent the game as the second team in to every corner and open space of the Xcel Energy Center ice.
“I applaud our guys; the effort was there the whole time,” Flyers senior Joey Hanowski said. “I think we were a little over matched.”
It was evident from the drop of the puck, and Cadets freshman Tom Novak left little doubt when he scored a power-play goal before many fans settled into their seats. The state tournament newcomer tallied a second goal six minutes into the second and assisted on a pair of goals.
Andrew Commers assisted on both of Novak’s goals, added another late in the second and scored twice. Impressive as all that offense was, the win was STA’s 12th straight while allowing one goal or pitching a shutout.
You might call it satisfaction.
“I like that fact better than scoring goals,” Vannelli said.