Gentry Academy junior wing Barrett Hall slips a wrist shot past Mahtomedi goaltender Ben Dardis for a third-period goal Thursday night as the host Stars triumphed with a 7-3 victory. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
Is it better to be good than lucky? Or is being lucky preferable to being good?
Nick Sajevic has such an abundance of speed, plethora of shooting skills and bounty of puck savvy that luck doesn’t really fit into his game-breaking formula.
Which brings us to the Gentry Academy senior forward’s goal to end the first period during the Stars’ 7-3 victory over Mahtomedi on Thursday night in the Class 1A, Section 4 championship at TCO Sports Garden in Vadnais Heights.
Sajevic had just failed to convert a breakaway, and he and puck ended up behind the Mahtomedi net. Sajevic made what appeared to be a centering pass, but the puck instead banked off Mahtomedi goaltender Ben Dardis and into the net, giving the Stars a 3-1 lead with 51 seconds left in the opening period.
Gentry Academy senior center Nick Sajevic battles for the puck in the neutral zone with Mahtomedi's Ty Decker. Sajevic finished with three goals to lead the Stars to a 7-3 win. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
Senior Nick Sajevic scored three goals as No. 1-seeded Gentry Academy beat No. 2 seed and defending Class 1A state champion Mahtomedi 7-3 on Thursday night in the Class 1A, Section 4A championship game at the TCO Sports Garden in Vadnais Heights.
Gentry Academy, ranked No. 1 in the Class 1A coaches’ poll, improved to 16-0-0 with the victory, joining Class 2A qualifier Lakeville South as the first teams to reach the state tournament since Lakeville North in 2015.
Gentry Academy, in just its third season as a varsity program, took control in the second period, scoring twice while killing three power plays. Andrew Mosley and Connor Brown scored the goals, with Brown making a nifty head fake before ripping a shot past Mahtomedi goaltender Ben Dardis to put the Stars ahead 5-1 with 8:49 left in the period.
The Stars’ offense didn’t slow much despite the penalties. They generated some of their best chances — including several odd-man rushes — in the period while shorthanded.
Sajevic opened the scoring 36 seconds into the first period, streaking in on Dardis and rocketing a shot past the goaltender’s glove hand. The first period ended with another Sajevic goal, one that was altogether different from his first. Sajevic was behind the Mahtomedi goal and appeared to be attempting a centering pass when the puck banked in off Dardis’ skate. That put the Stars ahead 3-1 with 51 seconds left in the opening period.
The teams exchanged goals during a 33-second span midway through the first period. Mahtomedi’s David Wolsfeld completed a pretty passing play on a 2-on-1 break with Nick Beiersdorf to tie the score at 1-1 with 8:55 left in the first. Gentry Academy answered immediately with Shane Dean’s goal giving the Stars a 2-1 lead with 8:22 left.
Sajevic completed his hat trick in the third period, and the Stars also got a goal by Isaiah Norlin as they built a 7-1 lead. Adam Johnson and Ryan Berglund scored in the closing minutes for No. 4-1A Mahtomedi (12-8-1).
Daris finished with 28 saves. Alex Timmons, a finalist for the Frank Brimsek award that goes to the state’s top senior goaltender, had 30 saves for the Stars.
Mahtomedi senior forward Adam Johnson is stopped on a prime scoring chance by Gentry Academy senior goalie Alex Timmons in the third period. Johnson finished with one goal, and Timmons made 28 saves Thursday. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
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