Gentry Academy defenseman Andrew Mosley celebrated after he scored on East Grand Forks in the third period. Photo: Anthony Souffle * firstname.lastname@example.org
A little levity is never a bad thing. Especially for a team staring down adversity — and potentially a loss — for the first time.
Barrett Hall’s laughter-inducing attempt at a between-the-legs shot in the third period Friday just might have been the play of the game for Gentry Academy. The effort seemed to cut the tension on the Stars’ bench and free up the state’s only unbeaten, untied team to rally to defeat East Grand Forks what was by far its most competitive game of the season.
“I didn’t even mean to try to do that, the puck just hit off my back foot and I tried to get my stick on it,” Hall said about his trick-shot misfire after he scored twice in Gentry Academy’s 5-3 victory over East Grand Forks in a Class 1A semifinal at Xcel Energy Center.
No. 2 seed Gentry Academy (18-0-0) was trailing in the third period for the first time this season when Hall’s second goal of the game tied the score at 3-3. Then came the accidental try at the spectacular, a play that had teammates joking with him on the bench.
“It was getting pretty tense there, and I think that lightened the mood for us a little bit,” Hall said.
Andrew Mosley and Nick Sajevic scored 74 seconds apart in the third period to break open a tie game and catapult No. 2 seed Gentry Academy past No. 3 seed East Grand Forks 5-3 in a Class 1A semifinal at Xcel Energy Center.
Mosley’s goal came with 7 minutes, 48 seconds left after he took a centering pass and scored while crashing into East Grand Forks goaltender Cole Quirk and the right goalpost. The play was reviewed for possible offsides, but the goal stood and Gentry Academy (18-0) held its first lead at 4-3.
Sajevic made it 5-3 with 6:34 left when he one-timed a Damon Furuseth pass past Quirk, who was playing without his goalie stick. The goal was Sajevic’s team-best 24th of the season.
Gentry Academy junior Barrett Hall’s second goal of the game tied the score at 3-3 just 44 seconds into the third period. His shorthanded goal came after he beat an East Grand Forks defender to the puck in the corner, then outmaneuvered two more Green Wave players on his way to the front of the net. Hall finished the play by wrapping the puck past the outstretched pad of Quirk, putting the puck just inside the left post.
East Grand Forks (14-9-0) put Gentry Academy in an unfamiliar position early by taking a 1-0 first-period lead on sophomore Jaksen Panzer’s fourth goal of the tournament. Panzer faked a pass while racing through the high slot, then unloaded a quick shot that beat Stars goaltender Alex Timmons between his leg pads.
Gentry Academy had trailed in just three games previously this season for a total of 28:11. The Stars had never trailed by more than a goal and never beyond the 13:37 mark of the first period.
That changed when junior Trey Ausmus scored a power-play goal to give the Green Wave a 2-0 lead with 5:13 left in the first period. Ausmus took a high-slot feed from Landon Parker and shot the puck over Timmons' glove hand.
Hall’s backhand shot with 37 seconds left in the first period pulled Gentry Academy to within 2-1. East Grand Forks had a 10-3 advantage in shots at one point in the first period, which narrowed to 10-8 by the end of it.
The teams traded second-period goals on long-range shots. East Grand Forks took a 3-1 lead 2:54 into the period on Ausmus’ knuckling shot from the point. Gentry Academy answered 3 minutes later on sophomore forward Shane Dean’s rising shot that beat Green Wave goaltender Quirk glove side. The teams continued to trade flurries of scoring chances, and East Grand Forks finished with a 13-11 shots on goal advantage in the period.
Timmons finished with 27 saves while Quirk had 22.
Gentry Academy is trying to become the first Class 1A team since Benilde-St. Margaret’s in 1999 to win a state title in its first appearance. The Stars are also trying to become the first undefeated state champion since Lakeville North in 2015 and, in Class 1A, Hermantown in 2007.
East Grand Forks was hoping to add to the back-to-back state Class 1A championships it won in 2014 and 2015.
Check back later for more on the game.