Edina was Edina in the first period of Friday's semifinal — fast, quick and relentless. St. Thomas Academy, meanwhile, was unrecognizable.
The Hornets pounced, putting the Cadets in a three-goal hole they never overcame. No. 1-ranked Edina won 6-3, securing a spot in Saturday's championship game against Eden Prairie.
The first 10 minutes of the game were scoreless, then Edina exploded for three goals in less than five minutes, putting St. Thomas Academy in a bind.
Brett Chorske followed up his shot with a rebound goal. Then Liam Malmquist and Mr. Hockey Award finalist Jett Jungels each lasered pucks into the upper reaches of the net. No. 1 seed Edina (26-2-1) outshot No. 4 seed St. Thomas Academy (25-4-1) by a 17-1 margin in the first period.
Neither co-head coach Greg Vannelli nor the Cadets players knew what happened.
"You look yourself in the mirror and say, 'Do you want to be embarrassed? Or do you want to go make something of it?' " Cadets' senior forward Rob Christy said. "That changed our attitude right there."
Edina braced for a better St. Thomas Academy effort.
"When a team goes down 3-0 you know they're going to respond hard," Chorske said. "But I thought we were prepared well and matched that."
The reeling Cadets played with more purpose to start the second period and were rewarded with Luke Herzog's goal 1:12 into the frame.
But each time St. Thomas Academy scored one of its three goals, Edina answered. None was more pretty than the slick Malmquist-from-Chorske exchange for a 5-2 lead.
"I knew it was coming," Malmquist said. "It was a good goal for sure."
Last stop on Edina's road to its 13th state championship is Lake Conference rival Eden Prairie. Their three previous games were Hornets victories by scores of 6-1, 5-2 and 7-2.