Session 5 Recap: Breck School/St. Thomas Academy and Thief River Falls/Hermantown

Game 9

Breck School Mustangs 0 - 1 St. Thomas Academy Cadets

Big clash between the two Class A teams that have won the last 5 State Championships. The Mustangs seemed to have the early advantage, getting pucks in deep and getting their forecheck going. It wouldn't take long for a talented Cadet team to get their offense going, as St. Thomas got their forecheck going fairly quickly as well. Both squads were playing well in the neutral zone. When there were opportunities, both Zevnik and Kenney made the saves. The period ended witha 0-0 tie, and neither team looking to back down from the challenge.

The 2nd period started out a lot like the first, with the Mustangs getting early control, but nothing to show for it. The Cadets found their legs quickly and got back into the game. Both Zevnik and Kenney continued to make the big saves when called upon. Both Breck and St. Thomas Academy did an excellent job of forcing the play wide, keeping the puck out of the danger areas. Both squads were backchecking like crazy, knowing full well that one goal could be the difference. The scoring finally opened when Peter Kreiger was able one-time a pass from right in the slot. It would be the only goal of the period. Cadets would take a 1-0 lead into the locker room.

St. Thomas Academy came out flying in the 3rd, looking to put this one away early in the frame. A cross-checking penalty assessed to Breck gave the Cadets that opportunity, but a strong Breck penalty kill kept it a one-goal game. The defense of the Cadets then stepped up, playing Breck tough in the neutral zone and at the blueline. The Mustangs weren't finding a lot of open ice to use their speed. Breck had a chance late when St. Thomas took a minor penalty, but the Cadets had a textbook penalty kill. The Mustangs couldn't get Kenney off fast enough, and the Cadets hang on to win 1-0.

The Cadets played incredible defense all day against an explosive Breck team. This was the exact type of game that St. Thomas wanted to play. A high-flying game with the Mustangs could have turned ugly. Instead. St. Thomas Academy was able to lock down in the neutral zone and in their own end, playing a pro-style defense. They will move on to Championship Saturday, looking to make it back-to-back State Championship.

Game 10

Thief River Falls Prowlers 2 - 3 Hermantown Hawks

In a battle of talented top lines,it was Hermantown's Jared Thomas who got the ball rolling. Thomas was able to get a rebound shot to sneak under Narverud to open the scoring 6 minutes into the game. Unfortunately for Hermantown, they couldn't build on the quick goal. The Prowlers tightened up in the neutral zone, forcing turnovers and getting the puck back in deep in the Hermantown zone. Connor Doherty had a chance to tie it up when he corralled in a back-door rebound, but his shot rang off the post. The period would end with Hermantown clinging to a one-goal lead.

Just like in their first game, the Hawks started the 2nd period with a much more determined effort. Mattson missed a wide-open net, and the top line was starting to pressure the Prowlers; however, the defense of Thief River didn't break and Narverud made the timely saves. The Prowlers got a big penalty kill, but failed to press Hermantown after the penalty. The Hawks then gave the Prowlers a chance to get back in the game with a penalty of their own, but the Thief River powerplay looked eerily familiar to a certain NHL team's powerplay that calls Xcel home. The Hawks continued to get the Prowlers backed up in their own end, but couldn't bury an insurance goal. The Prowlers were able to escape the 2nd period without more damage, but were clearly reeling.

Thief River needed a hot start for the final period in regulation, but instead came out flat. Thief seemed to be waiting and reacting instead of trying to take control of the play. It looked like the Prowlers were about to get run over when Austin Odberg and Riley Soderstrom connected on a two-on-one to tie the game and give Thief River Falls new life in this game. Just over a minute later, the Prowlers took their first lead of the afternoon when Engelstad gathered up his own rebound to put Thief up 2-1. It wouldn't take Hermantown long to get back in the game, as Jared Kolquist found a loose puck and fired it over a sprawling Narverud. The quick response from Kolquist seemed to spark Hermantown, as they once again started to establish dominance. The Hawks caught a break when a centering pass from Thomas hit the skate of a defensman in front and beat Narverud, giving the Hawks the lead back. The Hawks were then able to survive the last few seconds to secure the victory.

Hermantown will move on to Championship Saturday to faceoff against the St. Thomas Academy Cadets, a rematch of last year's State Championship. The Hawks will have revenge on their minds, but have a tall hill to climb. While they will come in as the higher ranked team, the favorites in the minds of viewers has to be St. Thomas Academy.

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