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Cadets fend off Mahtomedi

By Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor, 01/07/12, 10:02AM CST


St. Thomas Academy, ranked No. 2 in Class 1A, uses quick start to down No. 7 Zephyrs

St. Thomas Academy's Alex Johnson, left, and Austin Sattler, right, converge on Mahtomedi's Blake Gunderson. Photo by Helen Nelson

Peter Krieger has soared to the highest of highs. He’s plummeted to the lowest of lows. 

In his fourth season playing high-level hockey for St. Thomas Academy’s varsity, Krieger has pretty much seen and done it all.
He is as close to a grizzled veteran -- minus the battle scars, snaggled teeth and grey-flecked beard -- as you are going to find in a high schooler.
Krieger is well aware of the Cadets’ playoff history with Mahtomedi, a team that knocked heavily favored St. Thomas Academy out of the section playoffs in 2009 and again in 2010.
“I was on both of those teams where we lost (to the Zephyrs),” said Krieger, a senior center. “Knowing what it felt like, how it felt to lose those games, made you work that much harder.”
The Cadets routed Mahtomedi in the Section 4A semifinals on their way to the state Class 1A championship last season. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the teams met yet again in the section playoffs this season.
“The road through the playoffs will definitely go through them,” Mahtomedi coach Jeff Poeschel said after the No. 2-ranked Cadets beat the No. 7 Zephyrs 5-3 on Saturday, Jan. 7, at the St. Croix Recreation Center in Stillwater. “So these are important games. 
“Part of it is seeding and part of it is getting to know your opponent and what they do and what their tendencies are.”
Mahtomedi learned plenty about the play of Krieger, who scored twice in the Cadets’ victory. Just as impressive as Krieger’s goals was his mastery in the face off circle. Krieger and junior Henry Hart were dominant in winning draws, allowing St. Thomas Academy to spend much of the game deep in the Mahtomedi defensive zone.
“That’s a big part of the game,” Krieger said about his face-off success. “If you lose a lot of face-offs, it’s like negative momentum. Winning face-offs is a big part of the game.”
Spoken like a true veteran. 
Oddly, though, Krieger’s goal that gave St. Thomas Academy its comfortable 5-3 cushion in the second period (the goal came less than a minute after Mahtomedi made it 4-3) was set up by a face off win by linemate Andrew Commers. 
Also an accomplished face-off man, Commers won the draw back to Krieger who wasted little time in firing a shot that beat Mahtomedi goaltender Sawyer Marshall.
“We have a play set up,” Krieger said. “Andrew was the center, and he had a nice draw. A nice face-off win back to me, and then I pick it up and come across and shoot.”
Krieger, no doubt, has the ability to start and finish plays. There’s no better start than winning a face-off.
“Krieger is excellent,” St. Thomas Academy co-head coach Tom Vanelli said. “You can create a lot of scoring chances off face-offs.”

Statistics, Summary

Game Recap

 Senior forward Peter Krieger scored twice and added an assist as No. 2-ranked (Class 1A) St. Thomas Academy outlasted No. 7 Mahtomedi 5-3 on Saturday, Jan. 7, in a matchup of Classic Suburban Conference and Section 4A rivals at the St. Croix Recreation Center in Stillwater.

Krieger’s second goal came just less than a minute after Mahtomedi had closed to within 4-3 in the second period.
St. Thomas Academy (7-3-0) led 3-0 after the first period, with Krieger scoring the third goal off a nifty feed from behind the goal from freshman linemate Tommy Novak.
Mahtomedi (8-6-0), which engineered stunning playoff upsets of the Cadets in 2009 and 2010, scored three goals in the second period, knocking St. Thomas Academy starting goaltender David Zevnik out of the game in favor of  Ian West.
Dan Kilgore, Johno May and Patrick Kegley were the second-period goal scorers for the Zephyrs.
St. Thomas Academy, the defending state Class 1A champion, finished with a 36-15 advantage in shots on goal.
Neither team scored in a penalty filled third period, which ended with both teams creating a circle at center ice as they kneeled in prayer for Jack Jablonski, the critically injured Benilde-St. Margaret’s junior varsity player.

1. Peter Krieger, St. Thomas Academy
The senior forward scored twice, added an assist and was all but unbeatable on face offs. Krieger’s second goal came off a face-off win by linemate Andrew Commers and came 59 seconds after Mahtomedi had pulled to within 4-3 in the second period.

The freshman, playing on a line with Krieger and Commers, scored a goal, added an assist and played with the poise of a senior. He also displayed the necessary wheels to keep up with his turbocharged linemates.
The Zephyrs’ shifty senior notched two assists, including one on a nice rush and pass that set up Patrick Kegley for an easy one-timer. His two points boosted his team-leading total to 35.

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