Any rumblings of an upset in the Class 2A, Section 3 championship game between St. Thomas Academy and Bloomington Jefferson were silenced in 24 seconds of play during the final minute of the first period.
Holding their own against the top-seeded Cadets, the sixth-seeded Jaguars looked poised to go into the locker room Thursday night at Ridder Arena tied 0-0. Then Brenden McFadden scored on a cross-crease pass, making it 1-0, and 24 seconds later Robbie Stucker did the same on a nearly identical play.
The momentum-swinging goals propelled St. Thomas Academy (23-4-1), ranked No. 7 in the state, to a 7-0 victory.
"Whenever a team is an underdog like they were, and if they can get a lead, then they believe in themselves." Cadets coach Greg Vannelli said.
"Us getting that two-goal lead was huge because we play good with the lead."
Cadets forwards Ryan O'Neill and Chase Foley each scored goals in the second period. Rob Christy and Ray Christy scored in the third period, and Stucker scored his second goal during running time,.
Jaguars goaltender Evan Redepenning stopped 22 of 29 shots before being pulled for Karl Huther, who stopped all four shots he faced.
Bloomington Jefferson (11-16-1) failed to put much pressure on St. Thomas Academy goalie Atticus Kelly, who made 16 saves.
"We mishandled the puck like three times and two of them lead to goals," Jaguars coach Jeff Lindquist said. "We were playing sound, but those two mishandles cost us."
In other Class 2A section championships:
Section 1/Lakeville South 3, Lakeville North 1: Bradley Golant scored two goals in the third period in a 3:22 span to lead the Cougars past the Panthers. Jake Oelrich had the other goal and Jack Olsen had two assists for the Cougars. Chaz Dufon scored for the Panthers.
Section 7/ Grand Rapids 3, Duluth East 2 (2 OT): Micah Miller scored in the second overtime to lift the Thunderhawks past the Greyhounds.