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St. Thomas Academy rolls by Totino-Grace, earns another trip to state

By ANDREW KNEELAND akneeland@startribune.com, 03/01/13, 9:58PM CST


The Cadets aim to make their last run a run to remember.

The Cadets aim to make their last run a run to remember.

Two-time defending state champion St. Thomas Academy has its sight set on a trifecta. It's the Cadets' last year in Class 1A, and they are doing all they can to leave a lasting impression. With a 3-0 win over Totino-Grace on Friday night in the Class 1A, Section 4 final, they're well on their way.

"We've been here before," St. Thomas co-coach Tom Vannelli said. "These guys know how to get out of the gate."

St. Thomas set up camp around the Eagles' goal early, peppering Totino-Grace's Michael Larson with shots.

Totino strung together enough breakaways to keep the Cadets' hearts pumping late in the game, but St. Thomas' puck control and firepower proved to be the difference. Alex Johnson scored the Cadets' first goal early in the opening period, and sophomore Christiano Versich doubled the margin a dozen minutes later. Tommy Novak hooked a shot in in the game's final minute.

Goalie David Zevnik continued his scoreless streak, racking up his third shutout of the section tournament.

"David didn't have a lot of saves, but he made tough saves," Vannelli said. "Several times it was almost a one-goal game. He really helped us keep our margin."

The Cadets haven't lost to a small-school opponent in three years and have been kings of their class for much longer than that. They will skate in Class 2A next season, joining schools with higher enrollment.

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