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For the second game in a row, Hermantown allowed an opponent to come back from a three-goal deficit to force a third-period tie. This time, it cost the Hawks.
St. Thomas Academy fell behind 3-0 in Saturday's Class 1A title game, only to roar back to force overtime at 4-4 and win it with 1:26 left in the first session after Taylor Fleming's shot from the point found its way through traffic and into the net.
STA got on the board late in the first period and drew within 3-2 on Peter Krieger's goal early in the second. Hermantown went back up 4-2, but St. Thomas Academy's A.J. Reid's goal with 2:03 left in the second brought the Cadets within 4-3. Andrew Commers' second goal of the game tied it in the third period.
Hermantown trailed in shots 41-20 at one point, but cut that deficit to 44-33 with a flurry late in the third and at the start of overtime. But the Hawks -- who also lost in last year's title game on a late goal by Breck -- couldn't put a goal home.
This is St. Thomas Academy's third title in the past six years. The Cadets also won in 2006 and 2008.
-- Michael Rand, Star Tribune
Opposing coaches have thrown everything but the Zamboni at Eden Prairie senior Kyle Rau, and all those exotic schemes have failed to achieve even marginal success.
There is none.
“Everyone has tried to defense him differently,” Eden Prairie coach Lee Smith said after Rau scored twice and added two assists in the Eagles’ 5-1 triumph over Eagan on Friday, March 10, in the state Class 2A semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. “Some try to shadow him, some try to match lines. But the thing that you find is the more that they try to do it, the better he becomes.”
So if the best strategy is to treat Rau as just another player, well, turns out that didn’t work for Eagan, either.
“No,” Wildcats coach Mike Taylor said after a long pause when asked if he had implemented anything special in his game plan in an attempt to slow the Mr. Hockey candidate.
Rau has four goals in the Eagles two state tournament games and an even 40 this season.
Rau scored on a back-door tap-in on a power play 22 seconds into the second period to put Eden Prairie ahead 3-0. Just more than three minutes later the Eagles led 4-0, courtesy of a Rau one-timer from just outside the crease.
Luc Gerdes and Nick Seeler scored in the first period for Eden Prairie, and Ben Boldenow added a goal in the third.
Alex Toscano scored at 3:54 of overtime, giving No. 3-seeded Duluth East a 2-1 victory over No. 2-seeded Edina in the Class 2A semifinals. It was the second consecutive game in the tournament – and third counting their section final – that needed extra time. The Greyhounds advance to Saturday’s title game, their first appearance in the championship game since 2000. They are seeking their first title since 1998. Edina was last year’s champion.
Duluth East had three golden chances midway through the second period – the last a shot off the crossbar – but couldn’t cash any in for the game’s first goal. Edina took that honor two minutes later when Steven Fogarty used a burst to create a 2-on-1, skated down the right wing and buried a wrist shot high to the glove side.
Duluth East drew even with less than a minute left in the second when a relentless cycling forecheck eventually led to a one-timer from Jake Randolph.
The teams traded chances in the third period, with Duluth East putting one off the post and Edina’s Jake Sampson getting denied from close-range with four minutes remaining in regulation.
St. Thomas Academy’s boys’ hockey team missed the past two Class 1A state tournaments, but the Cadets are picking up right where they left off.
Friday’s 5-0 defeat of Thief River Falls moves the No. 1 seed Cadets into Saturday’s championship game. They won titles in 2006 and 2008.
Thief River Falls nearly scored shorthanded early in Friday’s game, the puck deflected off the crossbar. From there, St. Thomas Academy gained the edge in play with superior team speed and skill.
But the Cadets did not have an easy path. The failed to convert on three power plays in the first period and the game remained scoreless until late in the period. A.J. Reid forced a Prowlers turnover at the blue line, then sent the puck to a streaking Zach Schroeder for a goal at 16:42.
Andrew Commers struck next for St. Thomas Academy with a goal at 8:13 of the second period to built a 2-0 lead.
And Alex Johnson made it 3-0 Cadets in the third period. He waited at the Prowlers blue line, looking back for a teammate before electing to take matters into his own hands and snapping a shot past goaltender Jon Narverud.
Sophomore Adam Johnson brought Hibbing/Chisholm from sure defeat to the brink of victory with a natural hat trick spanning the second and third period Friday against Hermantown.
But No. 2-seeded Hermantown, after watching Johnson erase a 4-1 lead, responded with an Andrew Mattson tally with 6:10 to play and added an empty-netter in the final minute to earn a spot in Saturday’s state championship game.
The two Northern rivals tied 2-2 in the final regular-season game of the season, and Friday’s tiebreaker lived up to expectations.
-- Michael Rand, Star Tribune
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