St. Thomas Academy Survives Late Rally to Hand Stillwater First Loss of Season, 4-3

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PRIOR LAKE, MN — One of the better matchups in the state played out on Thursday afternoon in the second game of the Hockey for Life Classic.

#11 St. Thomas Academy faced-off against the undefeated #16 Stillwater Ponies in what was a fast-paced game, and in the end, despite a late rally, the Cadets handed Stillwater its first loss of the season, 4-3 at Dakotah Ice Arena in Prior Lake, MN.

The first period saw continual back and forth play as both teams tried to get their skates under them in their first games back from the holiday break.

Stillwater appeared to have the upper hand going into the first intermission as they would continue to be on a 5-on-3 power play to start the second. But they failed to capitalize and saw the Cadets’ Luke Herzog score only seconds after the second penalty concluded.

It wouldn’t be long after that the Cadets were on the board again when Ray Christy poached a pass from Brendan McFadden and slipped it past Jesse Brown for a 2-0 lead with 12:53 left in the second. An even shorter amount of time elapsed until their next goal when they went up 3-0 as Herzog slotted his second of the afternoon.

Although physical, the game was played at lightning speed and saw the Ponies finally get on the board while on the power play as Spencer Scott took advantage of a scrum in front of net with 6:42 on the clock. They capitalized again with the extra man with only :15 left in the period when Eisele smacked it home from deep.

With only a one goal lead after being up three, the Cadets rallied to regain a two goal advantage with just under two minutes into the final frame off a 2-on-1 breakaway from Jarod Wright to Riley O’Brien.

The Ponies wouldn’t go away though, as they fought through checks and the potent Cadets attack to come back within a goal when Eisele netted his second of the game from Joe Stengl and Cooper Wylie.

The adversity Stillwater showed was resonated by their head coach Matt Doman who said, “As fighters you’re going to get punched in the face, you got to know what that feels like,” when asked about the lack of quality his team faced prior to their matchup with the Cadets.

“We come to this tournament and expect to play three good teams,” Doman said. “We’ve had some good things happen and have some things we need to work on.”

However, it was not enough as the Cadets (6-2-1) got back on track and in the win column with a 4-3 win after falling to rival #10 Hill-Murray (6-2-0) last week.

“It was really good to get us back on track,” Herzong said. “It’s all about a lot of energy.”

Stillwater falls for the first time this season and stands at 6-1.

Even after giving up four goals, it was still an impressive outing for Stillwater’s senior goalie, Jesse Brown.

“That’s not us,” Brown said when talking about his team’s hot start. “I could’ve done better, our team could’ve done better. I think we’re going to come back stronger.”

Brown was also asked about facing the potent Cadet offense to which he responded, “Taking every shot. It was tough. But I was just taking it play by play and it was unfortunate there in the second period it shows you just can’t give up.”

St. Thomas Academy will face the high-flying #2 Edina Hornets (7-0-1) on Friday in the Hockey for Life Classic.

Stillwater will be facing #17 Lakeville North (5-3-0) on Friday in the Hockey for Life Classic, as well.

 

Three Stars:

F – Luke Herzog (STA) – 2 G
F – Adam Eisele (Stillwater) – 2 G, 1 A
F – Rob Cristy (STA) – 1 G, 1 A

 

 

Written by Jack Kewitsch / @Jack_Kewitsch

Special to HockeyClan

 

 

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