Edina forward Luke Ruegemer (15) and St. Thomas forward Ryan O'Neill (12) fought for the puck in the first period. Photo: ANTHONY SOUFFLE • firstname.lastname@example.org
Edina was Edina in the first period of the Class 2A semifinal – fast, quick and relentless. St. Thomas Academy, meanwhile, was unrecognizable.
The Hornets pounced, putting the Cadets in a three-goal hole they never overcame Friday at Xcel Energy Center. No. 1-ranked Edina won 6-3, securing a spot in Saturday’s championship game against rival Eden Prairie.
The first 10 minutes of the game were scoreless. Then Edina (26-2-1) exploded for three goals in less than five minutes to put St. Thomas Academy in a bind.
Brett Chorske followed up his shot with a rebound goal. Then Liam Malmquist and Mr. Hockey Award finalist Jett Jungels each lasered pucks into the upper-reaches of the net. No. 1 seed Edina outshot No. 4 seed St. Thomas Academy by a 17-1 margin in the first period.
Neither co-head coach Greg Vannelli nor the Cadets’ players knew what happened.
Fast, quick and relentless from the first puck drop until the conclusion of its 6-3 semifinal victory Friday, top-ranked Edina sits on the verge of its 13th state championship.
The first 10 minutes of the game against St. Thomas Academy were scoreless Then Edina exploded for three goals in less than five minutes to put the Cadets in a bind.
Brett Chorske followed up his shot with a rebound goal. Then Liam Malmquist and Mr. Hockey Award finalist Jett Jungels each lasered pucks into the upper-reaches of the net.
No. 1 seed Edina (26-2-1) outshot No. 4 seed St. Thomas Academy (25-4-1) by a 17-1 margin in the first period.
The reeling Cadets played with more purpose to start the second period and were rewarded with Luke Herzog’s goal 1:12 into the frame.
Jungels restored a three-goal Edina lead thanks to a wicked bounce. He fired a puck from along the boards and it hit a St. Thomas Academy skater in the slot before slipping past surprised goaltender Muzzy Donohue.
Down 4-1, the Cadets got a third-period goal from Rob Christy. Then Edina shredded the defense again on a slick Malmquist-from-Chorske exchange for a 5-2 lead.
Edina defeated the Cadets 6-2 earlier this season.
St. Thomas Academy’s season will end in Saturday’s third-place game, which also marks the end of co-head coaches Greg and Tom Vannelli’s decorated careers. They won five Class 1A titles. Friday’s semifinal was the first they reached in four tries since the program moved up to Class 2A.
Edina turns its focus to a championship showdown with Lake Conference rival Eden Prairie, an opponent the Hornets know well.
Edina won its three previous games against Eden Prairie by scores of 6-1, 5-2 and 7-2.
Eagles’ senior forward Jack Jensen, who played in Edina’s youth system, said he looks forward to battling former teammates he still considers friends.
Check back later for more on Friday's game.