EDINA, MN — Needing all three periods to get their legs under them, the Cadets from St. Thomas Academy were able to push Eastview aside in a game that was a lot closer than many anticipated en route to a 4-1 win in the Class AA, Section 3 Final on Thursday at Braemar Arena in Edina, Minnesota.
With the game tied at one after two periods, St. Thomas junior Luke Herzog reached out and snuck the puck past Eastview goaltender Ben Beattie for his 10th goal of the season to give the Cadets the 2-1 lead a little more than two minutes into the third.
That goal proved to be the difference but to be safe, Herzog would score again, this time with an empty net with 23.3 seconds remaining.
In a a game a lot closer than the score would indicate, Ray Christy would also get in on the action tacking on another goal only eight seconds later to finally lay the Eastview Lightning to rest.
Frank Brimsek Finalist’ Atticus Kelly of St. Thomas kept the Cadets in the game throughout the evening making 34 saves with quite a few coming in acrobatic fashion.
After Eastview broke the scoring seal five minutes into the second after a Zach Anderson shot snuck through the five-hole, Kelly did his best to reset.
“Just had to focus on the next shot and focus on staying calm,” Kelly said.
The lead would hold for over 10 minutes before the Cadets’ Chase Foley tied it, 1-1, late in the second.
St. Thomas Academy beats Eastview 4-1 in a much closer game than the score indicates in the 3AA final! Back to the X for the Cadets. @Hockey_Clan @FollowThePuck @tourney_18 #StateOfHockey pic.twitter.com/S3iXu2RdKN
— Jack Kewitsch (@jackkewitsch) March 2, 2018
With the score deadlocked at one, St. Thomas head coach Tom Vannelli was confident in his team’s ability.
“We can do it! We’ve done it before,” Vannelli said. “That is the difference between this team and any other team I’ve had in AA.”
“We know our strengths and weaknesses and that is what makes it special,” Herzog, who finished with two goals in the victory, said.
Both he and Kelly agreed the St. Thomas Academy team “is truly a brotherhood” and how close they are is what has made this team a special one to watch and play for.
St. Thomas Academy (25-2-1) has now won their section 10 of the last 14 seasons in Class A and AA and head back to St. Paul in what will likely be the three or four seed.
Eastview’s great run ends here at 23-5.
1. G – Atticus Kelly (STA) – 34/35 saves
2. F – Luke Herzog (STA) – 2 G, A, 3 Pts
3. D – Chase Foley (STA) – G, 2A, 3 Pts
Written by Jack Kewitsch / @JackKewitsch
Special to HockeyClan
Main Image: St. Thomas Academy erased a one-goal deficit with four unanswered goals en route to a 4-1 triumph over Eastview in the Minnesota Class AA, Section 3 Final at Braemar Arena in Edina, Minnesota on March 1, 2018. (Jack Kewitsch/HockeyClan)
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