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Day at the Dietsch

By Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor, 04/01/12, 8:56AM CDT

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Cretin-Derham Hall sniper's overtime goal secures Great 8 title for Section 3


Cretin-Derham Hall's Luke Dietsch, left, scores the winning goal in overtime for Section 3, beating Section 7 goaltender Erikur Arnason of Greenway and Joe Anderson (15) of Hibbing. Photo by Loren Nelson

Luke Dietsch was sitting on the bench, catching his breath and contemplating life, hockey and the upcoming overtime period.
 
Mostly, though, he was mesmerized by the silver chalice sitting across the rink on the scorer’s table between the penalty boxes.
 
“When we were going into overtime we all looked across and saw this big silver thing sticking out the glass,” said Dietsch, a forward who starred at Cretin-Derham Hall. “We were all just like, ‘Let’s take that thing home.’ ”
 
Organizers of the Ted Brill Great 8, a tournament designed to showcase the state’s top seniors, didn’t skimp when they purchased the event’s championship trophy. It’s not Stanley Cup-sized, but plenty big enough to hoist two-handed over your head and, if so desired, bring it down to mouth level for a kiss.
 
Dietsch was the first to plant his lips on the trophy after scoring one minute into overtime, giving Section 3A/3AA a 4-3 victory over Section 7A/7AA on Sunday, April 1, at Wakota Arena in South St. Paul.

Luke Dietsch scored four goals and added an assist in three Great 8 tournament games. Photo by Loren Nelson

The winning goal, which came off a rising shot from the slot, was Dietsch’s second of the game and fourth of the tournament. He scored 20 in 26 games for the Raiders during the high school season.
 
Section 3 defenseman Dominic Nitti, for one, could have predicted how the game would end. Especially when he saw the puck heading to an open Dietsch in front of the net. Another Cretin-Derham Hall standout, Nitti, a defenseman, has seen Dietsch do this sort of thing before. Many times.
 
“He actually scored a ton of big game-winning goals for us during the season,” Nitti said. “I think he had two or three overtime goals for us. He gets that puck in front of the net, and I’m already celebrating because I know he can score. 
 
“He’s the best player I know around the net. Once he got that puck in the slot, I’m like, ‘It’s over, we win.’ ”
 
The conclusion was hardly preordained, although it seemed the Section 3 victory was secure when Dietsch intercepted a clearing pass by Section 7 goaltender Erikur Arnason of Greenway and scored midway through the third period. That goal put Section 3 ahead 3-1. 
 
Section 7 stormed back to tie the game at 3, and went on the power play for the final minute of regulation when Section 3 was called for having too many men on the ice.
 
“It’s been that way all weekend,” Section 3 coach Chris Sikich, an Apple Valley assistant, about his team’s resolve. “In the first game we were down 2-0 after one and battled back. (Saturday) we were down 4-2 after two and scored four in the third.
 
“This is a good group of kids.”
 
Like most of the players in the tournament, the hockey futures of Dietsch and Nitti are in limbo. They both hope to catch on with a junior team, likely in the North American Hockey League, this summer.
 
It’s possible one or both of could be chosen to represent the Minnesota Seniors in the upcoming National Invitational Tournament featuring teams from Wisconsin, North Dakota, Michigan and Massachusets.
 
“I was just kind of glad I made this tournament, and now, I don’t know, playing in overtime, scoring that goal,” Dietsch said. “I had a nice pass out front. A lot of things went through my head because I knew it was coming. 
 
“I was just thinking top glove, and luckily I hit it.”

Luke Dietsch (15) hoists the championship trophy after leading Section 3 past Section 7 in overtime in the Ted Brill Great 8 title game. Photo by Loren Nelson

Statistics, Summary

Game Recap

Luke Dietsch of Cretin-Derham Hall scored 1 minute into overtime to lift Section 3A/3AA past Section 7A/7AA on Sunday, April 1, in the championship game of the Ted Brill Great 8 at Wakota Arena in South St. Paul.
 
Dietsch, who led the Raiders with 20 goals in 26 games during the high school season, also scored midway through the third period as Section 3 took a 3-1 lead.
 
Section 7 rallied in the third on goals by Mahtomedi’s Johno May, in the lineup as a reserve, and Grand Rapids’ Jordan Stejskal.
 
Section 3 was called for too many men on the ice with 1:09 left in the third period. Section 7 was unable to generate any quality scoring chances at the end of regulation or the start of overtime.
 
Section 3 had just returned to full strength when Dietsch scored on a rising shot from the slot on a feed from behind the net.
 
Litchfield’s John Raisanen had a goal an assit for Section 3, which got 12 saves on 13 shots from starter Andrew McDonough of East Ridge. Woodbury’s Josh Erickson played the second half and finished with 18 saves on 20 shots.
 
Section 7 starting goaltender John Scheuer made eight saves on nine shots before giving way to Erikur Arnason of Greenway, who made 13 saves on 16 shots in the second half.
 
Section 7 defenseman Nick McCormack of Elk River scored the lone goal of the first period on a power-play, firing a low shot from the point.
 
Nate Flynn of Hastings, playing on a line with Dietsch and Evan Erickson of Woodbury, also scored for Section 3.
 
The championship for Section 3 ended Section 4’s two-year reign.
After scoring what appeared to be an insurance goal in the third period, putting his team up 3-1, the Cretin-Derham Hall star had to go to work again in overtime, scoring again 1 minute into the extra period to give Section 3 the championship. He finished the tournament with four goals and an assist in three games.
 
The Hastings forward scored in the second period and helped set up linemate Dietsch’s overtime goal.
 
A defenseman from Grand Rapids, Stejskal typically focuses on hard hits and gritty play in his own zone. But it was a Stejskal rush, culminated by a deke and goal that he made appear routine, with less than 4 minutes remaining that sent the game into overtime.

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Moorhead's Jack Stetz (21) throws his arms up as he and his teammates celebrated the win. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com