St. Cloud Cathedral's forward Nate Warner (8) celebrated his hat trick after he scored in the second period against North Branch in the Class 1A quarterfinal Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center. Photo: ELIZABETH FLORES • firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Cloud Cathedral junior forward Nate Warner missed more than half the regular season with an upper-body injury. But he’s getting back to form, evidenced by a hat trick in the state tournament quarterfinals.
Warner’s natural hat trick in the second period propelled the No. 2-seed Crusaders to a 7-0 rout of state tournament newcomer North Branch on Wednesday at Xcel Energy Center.
“I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent but I’m feeling really good after that game,” said Warner, who has verbally committed to the Gophers.
The Crusaders (25-4) led 2-0 when a short-handed goal from Warner sent the teams’ emotions in different directions.
Nate Warner’s second-period hat trick propelled St. Cloud Cathedral to a 7-0 rout of state tournament newcomer North Branch in Wednesday’s first Class 1A quarterfinal.
No. 2 seed Cathedral led 1-0 after one period despite North Branch holding a 10-9 edge in shots on goal. The Vikings (19-8-2) drew a sea of red-clad fans but could not excite them with a goal.
Then the favored Crusaders (25-4) got rolling. Jack Smith scored a power-play goal just 1:40 into the second period before Warner went on a tear.
Warner, a junior forward who has verbally committed to the Gophers, pushed his goal total to 18 this season. He missed more than half the regular season with an upper-body injury.
Luke Schmidt added a pair of goals.
Check back later for more on the game.