For the second straight game, Duluth Marshall struggled to score.
Although the Hilltoppers did get a goal, they suffered thier second straight loss to a Twin Cities private school powerhouse, this time falling to St. Thomas Academy 5-1 on Saturday, Dec. 4, at Mars Lakeview Arena.
The Toppers opened the scoring on a Dave Grannis goal just over two minutes into the first period. Although the Toppers stayed with the Cadets throughout most of the game, from that point on it would be St. Thomas’ night.
The Cadets would go on to score five unanswered goals, including two from senior A.J. Reid, who also added an assist.
“There were a lot of jitters going into the game” Reid said. “For me it’s my senior year and it’s my last shot at getting to the state tournament, but it was good to get the win today.”
Marshall and St. Thomas have quite the history, especially in the state tournament. The teams met four times in four straight years down at Xcel Energy Center with Marshall beating St. Thomas for third place in 2005. St. Thomas beat Marshall the following year and in 2008 in the championship game. Marshall defeated St. Thomas in the semi-final in double overtime in 2007.
St. Thomas co-head coach Greg Vannelli said the history between the teams definitely was a factor in how his team played.
“Whenever you come up here it’s going to be a battle” said Vannelli, “We were expecting it, everyone played their hearts out and they gave us a good game.”
Reid also spoke of the matchup between the two teams:
“With this team we always have good games” Reid said, “A lot of the younger guys were nervous because they haven’t experienced this yet.”
Although the younger players may have been nervous, it certainly didn’t show. St. Thomas Sophomore Henry Heart played in his first varsity game with the Cadets and scored the final goal of the game.
“This is [Henry] Heart’s first year on the team and he was really excited to get a goal against this team” explained Reid, “It just makes a win that much sweeter when it’s against your archrival.”
Despite the history, both teams were riding different waves coming into the game. This was St. Thomas’ first game of the 2010 regular season and Marshall was looking to rebound from a bad 7-0 loss at home to Hill-Murray Tuesday night.
“First game of the season is always tough to get going” commented coach Vannelli, “but it all turned out in the end.”
Duluth Marshall head coach Brendan Flaherty felt differently about the outcome:
“Were a little discouraged, knowing that we have a lot of work to get done and that we can get better” said coach Flaherty, “We wanted a better overall effort and we felt we got that for two periods, but we’re just struggling in those third periods.”
Duluth Marshall’s Connor Flaherty was taken out of the game during the third period after taking a puck to the knee. Coach Flaherty said it was a strained MCL and he will most likely be in a brace for a little while but he could be back in the lineup in as soon as ten days.
1. AJ Reid, St. Thomas Academy
Reid netted two goals and added an assist to start his senior year with a three-point game. Reid’s line provided most of the scoring and fired on all cylinders, despite it being the Cadets' first game of the season.
2. David Zevnik, St. Thomas Academy
Zevnik stopped 27 of 28 Marshall shots to secure the win for the Cadets. Zevnik's only miscue came on one of the game's first shots. He shut down the Hilltoppers the rest of the way.
3. Brian Anderson, Duluth Marshall
Despite giving up five goals, Anderson stopped another 41 shots to keep his team close through most of the game. This was Anderson’s first start this season and his stellar performance between the pipes gave the Hilltoppers a chance for a win until late in the third period.