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Spartans defeat Johnson for first time since 1985

By Dicky Dunn, 01/29/09, 8:56AM CST


The St. Paul Academy and Summit School boys’ hockey team defeated St. Paul Johnson by a score of 5-1 on Tuesday evening at Phalen Arena.  In a St. Paul rivalry dating back to 1916, the Governors have beaten the Spartans 24 times, the Academy has now won 20 times, and there has been one tie (several years in the 1930s are missing from the records, so numbers are approximate).  24 years had passed since the Spartans last topped Johnson, in a Sectional playoff game at Aldrich Arena.

The Governors jumped out of the gates quickly as Jay Dickman took a pass from Nick Dietrich and beat Spartan goaltender Steve Estep on a breakaway just over one minute into the game.  Academy junior defenseman James Trevathan answered back less than two minutes later with a shot from the point on the power play to tie the score.  The Spartans proceeded to take advantage while on the power play, scoring three more first period goals with the one, or two man, advantage.  Junior center Luc Bruggeman lit the lamp twice, and senior captain Mike Falvey added the last of four first period goals as the Spartans went to the locker room with a 4-1 lead.

The second period saw the Academy players making several trips to the box, opening the door for the Governors to get cut the lead, but the Spartans were successful on the penalty kill, and junior defenseman Max Hommeyer's unassisted goal with about 7 minutes left in the period gave the Spartans a comfortable cushion heading into the third.

Senior goaltender Steven Estep held his ground in net during the third period, stopping all 8 shots he faced as Johnson had several quality scoring chances on the power play while both teams continued to send a parade of players to the penalty box.  Estep finished the game with 20 saves, earning his eighth victory, and moving the Spartans into a second place tie with the Blake School in the Tri-Metro Conference.

Next up for the Academy is a match up with Blake on Saturday afternoon at SPA's Drake Arena.  Both teams currently have five wins in the conference (Blake plays Breck on Thursday evening).  Johnson, currently holding third place in the Tri-Metro, will travel to the State Fairgrounds on Thursday for a match up with St. Paul Como Park, and will return to the Warner Coliseum on Saturday evening to take on the St. Paul Saints.