The Knights skate back to center ice after a goal. (photo by Jake Schroer)
The Knights traveled to Andover as the #6 seed; the clear underdog against the Northwest Suburban Conference’s Andover Huskies.
STMA shrugged off the label of underdog in the first period when senior captain Brett Marshall put one in the net for a 1-0 lead (Mitch Bourgerie, Trevor Zins). Shortly after scoring, the Knights killed off a Zins penalty. The Knights led after the first period.
In the second period, Andover got a second power play and made STMA pay as Nick Haller tied the contest (Tyler Tomberlin, Tyler Vold). After two periods, the teams stood tied at one. In the third period, things got interesting.
The two teams dished out hard hits all night. The constant physical play led to some confrontational moments. One of these led to a controversial coincidental minor against STMA’s Connor Spetz (slashing) and Andover’s John Chorzempa (roughing).
Shortly after the penalties expired, Tyler Hayes gave STMA the lead for the second time (Spetz, Cody Reckard). Later in the third, coincidental minors came down against Marshall Bjorlin and Justin Klingl (both roughing).
During these penalties, Chorzempa tied the game for Andover. STMA got its best chance to re-take the lead late when Zach Sitarz ran over Kyle Hayden, inducing a goaltender interference penalty.
STMA failed to score on the power play and Brad Williams scored the decisive goal for Andover shortly thereafter. The Knights pulled Hayden for the extra skater, but Andover held on for a dramatic comeback win.
Coach Jerr Johnson said his team had finished the season strong going into the playoffs and they felt confident for this game.
“It’s disheartening for us, for those guys in the locker room that put in all this time and effort and hard work, and really thought we could do it,” he said.
Johnson said 11 freshmen and sophomores played in the game and that they will remember this feeling several months from now when play begins again.
The Knights finish the regular season 13-12-1. Connor Spetz led the way with 31 points.