Class AA games take center state at Xcel

  • Article by: HOWARD SINKER
  • Updated: March 10, 2011 - 11:32 AM

Edinacoach Curt Giles typically doesn’t show a lot of emotion.

Regular season win? Ho hum.

Regular season loss? Same reaction.

Giles’ even-keel demeanor is reflected in his team, which typically turns in a consistent, workmanlike performance night after night.

Then comes the playoffs.

After the Hornets beat Burnsville for the Section 2AA title and a fifth straight trip to the state tournament, Giles was asked if the excitement ever diminishes for a team that goes to the state tournament year after year.

Giles, in his response, lit up with emotion. At least by Giles’ standards.

“This time of the year is unbelievable in high school hockey,” Giles said with a big smile. “If you don’t get excited at this time of the year, you don’t have a pulse.”

Edina, the 2010 Class AA champion, started its tournament defense this morning against Blaine in a state quarterfinal game at Xcel Energy Center. Three more games are scheduled for later today.

Here's a look at Wednesday's Class A results:

Thief River Falls 7, Breck 5 -- The Prowlers (20-8-1) trailed 4-2 entering the third before rallying for the upset win against No. 4-seeded Breck (20-9-1), the No. 4-ranked Class 1A team in the state.

Thief River Falls became the third northern team to reach the Class 1A semis, joining Hermantown and Hibbing/Chishom, quarterfinal winners earlier in the day.

“Those teams come down here, they are hockey players,” Breck coach Les Larson said. “They come to play. You have to be ready for them and they showed it tonight.

“They could have folded their tent in the second, but they came out in the third and took control.”

St. Thomas Aacdemy 13, New Ulm 2 -- Despite having players that frequent the score sheet such as Zach Schroeder, A.J. Reid, Matt Kroska and Taylor Fleming, the Cadets did not rely on its top line for production.

They didn't have to, especially after a seven-goal first period against their overmatched opponents.

In total, nine points (three goals, six assists) were contributed by St. Thomas Academy’s third line comprised of senior forwards Grant Eichstadt, Adam Peterson and Ferreira.

“That’s a coach’s dream to have three lines that can score,” St. Thomas Academy coach Greg Vannelli said. “It’s taken a while to get the right guys on (the third line). We finally think we got the right three. There’s been stretches where they’ve scored five games in a row.

“Their number one goal is to not give up a goal and if they can score it’s great. Tonight they were able to do that.”

Hibbing 4, Rochester Lourdes 0 -- The way Hibbing goaltender Nathan Tromp is playing, shutouts don’t come as much of a surprise for the Bluejackets anymore.

No, they simply are part of the gameday routine. Tape sticks, tighten skates, strap on helmet and, oh yeah, get a shutout from Tromp.

The senior who led the state with a .983 save percentage in the section playoffs is on such a hot streak, the question now is, “How did he let one get by him?”

“Five-on-three,” Hibbing coach Mark DeCenzo said.

Seriously.

The one goal Tromp has allowed in his last four games was during the Section 7A semifinals, while Duluth Central was on a 5-on-3 power play.

Hermantown 5, Alexandria 1 -- Pregame predictions favored Hermantown, and the game’s result matched the forecast as the Hawks defeated Alexandria 5-1 in the a state Class A quarterfinal game on Wednesday, March 9.

There was one little surprise, however.

After one period of play, there was no score at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

“We played a solid first period,” Hermantown senior forward Garrett Skrbich said. “It didn’t quite bounce in the net, but we wanted to keep it up and we wanted to get a little more physical in second.”

Physicality would have to wait as Alexandria’s Jordan Domine netted a quick wrist shot five seconds into the second period.

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