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Blue Devils-Crusaders Advance in Class A

By Pete Waggoner, 03/05/09, 9:16AM CST


Blue Devils capture 7A championship and Crusaders are champions of the Section 5A

Section 7A Final:  Virgina-Moutain Iron-Buhl 3  Hibbing  1

Duluth, Mn- The Virgina-Moutain Iron-Buhl Blue Devils qualified for the State Boys High School Hockey Tournament for the second time in school history and the second time in five seasons as they posted a hard fought 3-1 win over the Hibbing Blue Jackets at the DECC. With the win they can add the title of Section 7A Champion to the Iron Range Conference Champion status.

The Blue Devils coverted three power-play goals in the victory.  Jordan Kresbach provided the game winner at 7:29 of the second period as he was set up by Nathan Dahl.  Seven and a half minutes later, it was Chris Westin who converted at 15:03 for the 3-1 lead at the end of the second period.

Will Lustig turned aside 21 of 22 shots as he yeilded a goal by the Blue Jackets' Aaron Jamnick at 12:57 of the first period and fittingly, it was a power play tally.  The tight checking game resulted in 11 power-plays as they Blue Jackets were 1-5 and the Blue Devils a sizzling 3-6.  Andrew Judnick opened the scoring for the game at 10:19 from Garrett Hendrickson.

Hibbing's Nathan Tromp made 19 saves in the loss.  The win propels the Blue Devils to the Xcel Energy Center for the second time since 2005. The win improved the Blue Devils record to 23-5-0.  Having met for the third time this season, as Iron Range Conference foes, the Blue Devils won season series 2-1 with a 7-1 win to close out the season and a 4-2 loss earlier in the campaign. 

Section 5A Final:  St. Cloud Cathedral 5  Hermantown  1

The St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders Jon Larkin notched the hat trick to launch his team to a 5-1 victory over the Hermantown Hawks at the Cloquet Area Recreation Center.  The win vaults the Crusaders to the State High School Boys Hockey tournament for the 2nd straight season. 

The Crusaders Gavin Durant scored at 8:12 of the first period and Larkin added his first of the game seven minutes later as his team never trailed.  The Hawks had an answer as Adam Krause pulled his team within one.  The Crusaders flexed their muscle as Larkin opened the 4-1 lead with a pair of late second period goals.  His first came at 15:58 and his back breaking tally with one second left in the period allowed his team to clamp down in the third period.

Universtiy of Minnesota recruit Nate Schmidt put the finishing touches on the 5-1 win with a goal at 7:42 of the third period.  Crusader goalie made 23 saves to preserve the victory as the Crusaders improved their record to 25-2-1 on the season as they also captured the Wright County Conference championship. The Hawks closed out an impressive season as their record fell to 24-4-0.