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First-period goals lift No. 1 seed St. Thomas Academy to 2A Section 3 title

By NATE GOTLIEB, Special to the Star Tribune, 02/28/19, 9:00PM CST


Nico Vega scored twice and Andrew Boemer and Ryan O’Neill also scored in the Cadets' 4-1 victory over Eagan.

St. Thomas Academy goaltender Muzzy Donohue (1) blocked a shot on goal by Eagan forward Ethan Pearson (21) in the third period. Photo: RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER ¥ renee.jones@startribune.com

Defense has been the difference this season for St. Thomas Academy, according to co-coach Greg Vannelli.

The defense stepped up Thursday as the Cadets defeated Eagan 4-1 in the Class 2A, Section 3 championship at Braemar Arena in Edina.

Nico Vega scored twice and Andrew Boemer and Ryan O’Neill also scored for the top-seeded Cadets (24-3-1), who earned a third consecutive tournament berth.

Senior goalies Muzzy Donohue and Wes Gervais combined to stop 34 of 35 shots on goal, as the Cadets held their opponent to one goal or none for the 17th time in 18 games.

“Those guys come together,” Vannelli said of his defensemen. “It just seems like at the last second, they break up the plays.”

St. Thomas Academy took a 2-0 lead in the first period with power play goals by Boemer and Vega, after a five-minute major penalty by Eagan. Vega added a second power-play goal midway through the second period, after the Wildcats had cut the lead to one.

Senior forward Nico Vega scored twice as top-seeded St. Thomas Academy defeated third-seeded Eagan 4-1 in the Class 2A, Section 3 championship game Thursday at Braemar Arena in Edina.

Vega and junior defenseman Andrew Broemer each scored in a three-minute stretch in the first period for the Cadets (24-3-1), who won their third consecutive Section 3 title. Senior forward Ryan O'Neill also scored for St. Thomas Academy, giving the team a three-goal lead late in the third period.

Junior defenseman Aidan Byrne scored for Eagan (20-8), which was looking for its first state-tournament appearance since 2014.

Check back later for more on the game.

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