The final buzzer sounded, and a kid in the crowd going bonkers cleverly modified his handmade sign. The upper left corner with the letters UN were ripped off and discarded.


St. Cloud Cathedral's "Unfinished Business" motto became a season-long rallying cry, ever since Crusaders coach Derrick Brown made an off-the-cuff remark using those words a year ago at the team's season-ending banquet.

"That was kind of the key to our whole year," junior forward Nate Warner said Saturday after the Crusaders' 5-2 triumph over state tournament darling Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin in the Class 1A championship. "It was one of those things that just brought everybody together, and everyone rallied around it."

St. Cloud Cathedral's first title in nine state tournament appearances also was the first for any team from St. Cloud. It cleansed the bitter taste of last season's two-overtime section final loss to Alexandria.

"We said at the beginning of the year that we had unfinished business, and today we trashed the briefcase because we finished the business," Brown said of the unusual award given all season to the Crusaders' player of the game.

Second-period goals from Jackson Savoie and Jack Smith broke a 2-2 tie and put the No. 2 seed Crusaders (27-4) in control. But it was a successful kill of a five-minute major penalty that swung the game fully in Cathedral's favor.

No. 4 seed Greenway (17-14-0), playing mostly a skeleton crew of 10 players for the third consecutive day, appeared spent after failing to score on the extended second-period power play.

"Their goalie [Noah Amundson] made a lot of big saves, especially on that five-minute power play," Greenway senior Donte Lawson said. "When they weren't going our way, I guess we kind of got down."

Smith's power-play goal late in the second period put Cathedral up 4-2 and silenced all but the Crusaders' sliver of a cheering section in an otherwise pro-Greenway crowd of 8,141.

Smith said he embraced the Crusaders' role as villains. "When everybody is cheering against you, and you score a big goal, the whole rink goes quiet," Smith said. "I kind of like that."

Players had their fun destroying their symbol of solidarity, too.

"Everyone was tossing it on the ground, beating it up," Smith said of the briefcase. "I don't know if there is much left of it."