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St. Thomas Academy surges past Centennial and into the Schwan Cup Gold Division championship

By Heather Rule, SportsEngine, 12/30/16, 7:00AM CST


The Cadets scored four unanswered goals in the second and third periods after going down 1-0 to the Cougars in the first.

Luke Herzog (22) watches as Brendan McFadden's game winner flies in midway through the second period. Herzog tallied an assist on the goal. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine

Junior defenseman Chase Foley and senior forward Willie Reim each had a power-play goal and an assist in St. Thomas Academy's 4-1 victory over Centennial in the Schwan Cup Gold Division semifinals Friday night at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. 

The Cadets (8-1-1, 3-0) tied the game early in the second period with Foley’s power-play goal. They took a 2-1 lead with 4:46 left in the second on a goal from sophomore forward Brendan McFadden as he drove into the net from the circle to the goalie’s left. The Cadets, ranked No. 5 in class 2A by the state coaches' poll, really took control in the period, outshooting the No. 8-2A Cougars 12-4. 

“We’re working as a unit,” Reim said. “Everyone’s chipping in, everyone’s doing their role.”

Things also started to get a bit chippy in the second period, with a total of 12 penalties being assessed, including some coincidental minors for roughing and two players a side going to the box at the same time for unsportsmanlike conduct. Both teams were quick to protect their goalies after whistles.

“It was definitely a heated game,” Reim said. “Both teams played with a ton of passion. Fortunately, we kept our composure as a whole, and that’s how you win.” 

Reim made it 3-1 with 4:48 to go in regulation on a wrister from the circle during a power play. The Cadets added an empty-netter with 1:33 left in the game. 

In the first period, Centennial (6-2, 1-1) outshot the Cadets 11-3, but it looked like the game would remain scoreless at the first intermission, until Centennial opened the scoring with just over a minute left. 

Cougars junior forward Carter Wagner was in alone against the goaltender with 1:16 left in the first, but with the goalie down, he just missed sliding the puck into the open net.

Eight seconds later, the Cougars grabbed the 1-0 lead anyway. Junior forward Lucas McGregor scored right off an offensive zone faceoff, with junior forward Jack Menne getting the assist.

The Cadets just stayed patient, according to coach Tom Vannelli.

“We actually were playing pretty well, even though the first period, the shots were a little lopsided,” he said. “I didn’t really think the play was indicative of the shots.

“Two power play goals, that helps,” Vannelli said.

In goal, Atticus Kelly made 21 saves for the Cadets while Travis Allen stopped 20 shots for the Cougars. 

The Cadets move on to the Gold Division championship game at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Ridder Arena.  

Lucas McGregor (11) scored the game's first, and Centennial's only, goal. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine

Cadet goaltender Atticus Kelly stretches for a toe save to preserve St. Thomas' lead. Kelly backed up the Cadets with 21 saves. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine

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