Be it private vs. public, East Side vs. Highland Park, blue vs. maroon, or some other combination, there is a definite re-invention of the historic St. Paul hockey rivalry between Johnson and Academy, two schools trying to keep St. Paul city hockey on the map, as evidenced by the intensely played, tightly contested game on Saturday afternoon at Historic Drake Arena. The Governors from Johnson bested the Spartans of the St. Paul Academy and Summit School/Mounds Park Academy in overtime by a score of 4-3. Cory Ellis netted the game winner just over a minute into the overtime period, moving the Governors within two points of the third place Spartans in the Tri-Metro Conference standings.
The Spartans opened the scoring in the second period, as junior Luc Bruggeman scored a power-play goal off of passes from seniors Mike Falvey and James Wood. Johnson answered at 9:09 of the period as Tanner Hendrickson tied the game at one, and St. Paul Johnson took the momentum from there, dominating the last 8 minutes of the period, and opening up a 3-1 lead off of goals from Nick Dietrich and Aaron Howell.
SPA came out of the gates in the third period with some added intensity, and the man advantage, but were held back by the Johnson defense and goaltender Jessie Day, who held onto the two goal lead through two more Spartan power plays and a barrage of shots from all angles. Another Johnson penalty gave the Spartans their fourth power-play opportunity of the period, and Bruggeman took advantage, scoring his second goal of the game off of passes from junior Wyatt Wenzel, and Falvey. The Spartans had momentum on their side, and kept applying pressure to Day and the Governors. Their persistence paid off as senior defenseman Jacob Rice tied the game on a rebound goal after Day had stopped Wenzel on a breakaway. The Spartans kept the pressure on over the last five minutes of regulation, but could not get the puck past Day, who finished the game with 30 saves, 14 of which came in the third period.
This rivalry will further intensify in the future, as the new conference foes will most likely be competing against each other in Section 4A as Johnson plans to move from Class AA next season.
The Spartans have a busy week ahead, as they host Breck on Tuesday evening at 7:30PM, travel to Schwans Super Rink in Blaine to take on Meadow Creek Christian on Thursday at 7:00PM, and make the trip to Plymouth on Saturday to round out the week with an afternoon tilt against Providence Academy at 3:00PM. The Governors will host Providence on Tuesday, and Blake on Saturday. Both games begin at 7:30PM.
Tag(s): St. Paul Academy