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St. Paul Academy pulls away from St. Cloud Cathedral late

12/10/2016, 7:00am CST
By Heather Rule, SportsEngine

The Spartans edged the Crusaders 5-3 with two goals from Riley Bowman.


Riley Bowman moves the puck up ice for St. Paul Academy. The Spartans won 5-3 against St. Cloud Cathedral in a Saturday night matchup of top 10 Class 1-A teams. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine



The St. Paul Academy boys’ hockey team was down 3-2 at the second intermission, after a tiebreaking goal from St. Cloud Cathedral’s Jake Van Halbeck with just 36 seconds left in the period. It could have been a huge momentum-crusher for the Spartans (3-1) at home Saturday at Drake Arena in St. Paul as they faced the Crusaders (4-1-1) in a Class 1A battle.

“We had a nice little talk in between the second and third, and it was about attention to detail, especially in our own zone,” said St. Paul Academy coach Matt Funk.

They certainly found their game again in the third period. Senior Riley Bowman scored the tying goal with 2:48 remaining in regulation for his second goal of the game, pounding home the rebound.

Knotted at 3-3 with his top two lines alternating for the last seven minutes, Funk took a timeout with 1:21 left. They talked about getting pucks deep early on, Funk said. The timeout was a reminder.

“(I) just said, ‘get the puck deep, wings go to work and get the puck to the net,’” Funk said.

Less than 15 seconds later—with 1:07 on the clock—his team took the lead for good. Senior Matt Dahlseide tipped in the game-winner. The Spartans, ranked No. 3-1A by Let’s Play Hockey, added an empty-netter to avoid the slight upset that the Crusaders hoped to get. Instead, Cathedral was handed its first loss of the season.

The grinding game for the Spartans was all about doing what they do best, according to their coach: Deep pucks, shooting and generating traffic in front of the net.

“That’s what we’ve been preaching the last couple games,” Funk said. “We’ve been kind of a perimeter team and trying to be too cute with the puck.”

The game was a rematch more than nine months in the making. The two squads faced off in last year’s Class 1A state quarterfinals, with the Spartans also beating the Crusaders that time, by a 4-2 score. The Spartans took fourth place at the tournament, while the Crusaders won the consolation championship.

Bowman recalled what an intense game that quarterfinal was, since it was also the school’s first trip to the state tournament.

“So obviously, they (Crusaders) wanted to come out and take it to us, because we made them play at Mariucci last year instead of staying at the X (Xcel Energy Center),” Bowman said.

“They played hard all game. We just stuck to it through the whole game, and eventually it paid off,” he added.

The Spartans didn’t waste much time getting on the board. Senior winger Jack Johnston used his speed to drive down the ice before dumping a pretty pass near the goal line to his teammate, Bowman, who easily buried it for a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. Johnston assisted on both of Bowman’s goals.

On the tying goal, Johnston skated up the ice, “kept grinding, got a little scrappy,” made a pass out front and Bowman got the rebound after the initial shot.

“We played our offensive game, used our speed, but we tightened things up in the defensive zone, so that translated into the offensive zone,” Bowman said.

In the state quarterfinal, these two teams ended up tied at 2 after two periods. That was nearly the case Saturday, before Halbeck’s late-period goal to make it 3-2. He had an open net to shoot at to the goaltender’s right after a couple close-range shots failed to go in.

In goal for the No. 5-1A Crusaders, senior Jake Levinski made 23 saves. Junior goaltender Andrew Beran made 19 saves for the Spartans.

Once the final buzzer sounded, it was a bit of a sigh of relief for the Spartans.

“We talk about ‘you don’t win anything in December,’” Funk said. “But if definitely feels good to win against a top-five team in state in your own place.”


St. Paul Academy's Matt Dahlseide shoots between two defenders in Saturday's 5-3 victory over St. Cloud Cathedral. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine

Riley Bowman scored two goals as St. Paul Academy, ranked No. 3 in Class 1A by Let’s Play Hockey, beat No. 5-1A St. Cloud Cathedral 5-3 Saturday night at Drake Arena in St. Paul.

Bowman scored the tying goal with 2:48 left in the game, which was followed by the game-winner from senior Matt Dahlseide with 1:07 to go.

It was a rematch more than nine months in the making. The two squads faced off in last year’s Class 1A state quarterfinals, with the Spartans beating the Crusaders 4-2. The Spartans took fourth place at the tournament, while the Crusaders won the consolation championship.

The Spartans (3-1) handed the Crusaders (4-1-1) their first regulation loss of the season.

The Spartans didn’t waste much time getting on the board. Senior winger Jack Johnston used his speed to drive down the ice before dumping a pretty pass near the goal line to his teammate, Bowman, who easily buried it for a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.

The Crusaders got even soon after with a power-play goal. Freshman Mack Motzko was waiting out in front of the net as there was a puck battle in the corner. The puck came loose, and he didn’t miss his chance to tie the game.

In the state quarterfinal, these two teams ended up tied at 2 after two periods. That was nearly the case Saturday, but Cathedral senior Jake Van Halbeck put his team up 3-2 with 36.5 ticks on the clock in the middle period. He had an open net to shoot at to the goaltender’s right after a couple close-range shots failed to go in.

In goal for the Crusaders, senior Jake Levinski made 23 saves. Junior goaltender Andrew Beran made 19 saves for the Spartans.


Jake VanHalbeck scores for St. Cloud Cathedral late in the second period of Saturday's game versus St. Paul Academy. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine

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