St. Thomas Academy Cadets 5 - 1 Hermantown Hawks
The theme for this game was going to be pucks to the net. St. Thomas isn't as explosive as they have been in the past, and Hermantown needed shots to break Zevnik and the Cadet defense. Following the theme, the Cadets cashed in early when an Austin Sattler shot was kicked out by Matt Mensinger right onto the stick of Matt Perry, who banged home the rebound to put St. Thomas Academy up 1-0. The theme continued when Alex Johnson of St. Thomas put a harmless looking shot on net, but the shot sneaked through Mensinger's 5-hole to put the Cadets up 2-0. A late period powerplay gave Hermantown a chance to get on the board, but the disciplined penalty kill of St. Thomas kept most of the play to the perimeter. The period would end with the Cadets up 2-0, making Hermantown's task that much harder.
Hermantown would need to respond in the 2nd period to get back in the game. After the Cadets controlled the first few minutes, Hermantown came to life. A Chris Benson shot that hit the pipe seemed to spark the Hawks, as they started to get their forecheck going. Pucks from every angle were thrown to the net, and every Hermantown forward started crashing hard. The momentum would be short lived though, as the Cadets cashed in on their first powerplay opportunity to go up 3-0. It tooks the Cadets 11 seconds to score again, putting the Hawks in a 0-4 deficit. The hole got deeper when Alex Johnson made a perfect pass to Austin Sattler, who tapped home a one-timer. The score stood at 5-0, but the Hawks got a 5-on-3 to work with and cashed in quickly to make it 5-1. The Hawks were on the board, but the clock was racing against them. The Hawks had to erase a 4-goal deficit against a stout defensive squad, and they had one period left.
The Cadets only needed to play smart defense in the 3rd, which was their specialty. The Hawks saw 3 defenders back every time, sometimes having to skate through 4 St. Thomas players. All Hermantown could do in the final period was dump the puck in and watch the Cadets break it back out. The majority of the play was in the Hermantown end, keeping the puck as far away from the Cadet net as possible. The Hawks put 2 shots on net in the 3rd period.
The Cadets came in as the pre-season #1 team in Class A, and they will end the 2011-2012 season as State Champions. The depth and defense of St. Thomas was just too much for Hermantown. The Cadets honestly play a pro-style defense, giving up very little in the middle of the ice while slowing down the opposing forwards. The Hawks took a lot of poor angle and perimeter shots. Had it not been for a 5-on-3, the Cadets could have very well shut out every team in the Tournament.
Hermantown needed a 2nd line that could score to put pressure on the Cadets. It was the 2nd line from St. Thomas Academy that did the damage against Hermantown today, as Johnson and Sattler combined for 7 points on the day. The Hawks didn't have the defense or 2nd line forwards to slow this unit down. There was just too much depth working for St. Thomas Academy.