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In 1A, its the pubs versus the privates

By frederick61, 03/07/13, 1:15PM CST


Hermantown’s Bo Gronseth buries the puck to put the Hawks up 1-0 in their quarterfinal 3-0 win over Duluth Marshall in opening round Class A play at the Xcel (puck is in the back of the net).

Wednesday Class A Quarterfinals

Note: The photos in this post are all goal scoring photos.  YHH has posted photos of every team that scored except Lourdes.  All are close-up shots.  They are grouped behind each game summary so keep on scrolling till you see the end.

It is the private schools against the public schools in the Class 1A semifinals to be played Friday afternoon at the Xcel.  Breck beat Marshall and Hermantown beat Duluth Marshall to set up one private/public showdown.  East Grand Forks beat Rochester Lourds and St. Thomas Academy beat St. Cloud Apollo to set up a second private/public showdown.

Breck-6 Marshall-1

It took the Marshall Tigers the first five minutes of the opening period to settle down and play hockey.  For the remainder of the first period and for most of the second period they played Breck even.  Each team scored a goal.  The problem that the Tigers had is that Breck scored two goals in those first 5 minutes and led 3-1 late in the second when Breck’s Chase Ellingson scored to put Breck up 4-1.

Ellingson’s goal was the “back breaker” for the Tigers.

The goal was the result of a simple failure to clear the Marshall zone by a Tiger defender.  The puck banked off the board not out but to a Breck defenseman at the left point.  He put the puck on the goalie who made the save but lost control of the puck.  It ended up on Ellingson’s stick with the left side of the net wide open.

Breck added two goals in the third to win 6-1.  The Marshall kids made the game close until that goal; they may not have realized how much closer they could have made it.

Hermantown-3 Duluth Marshall-0

It is a 15 minute drive from Hermantown to Duluth Marshall, but for years the two high schools have played in different sectionals.  The Hawks have dominated Section 5 in Class A hockey.  Their 5A Sectional Championship this year was their fourth straight title.

This year’s Duluth Marshall team is no stranger to the Xcel.  It is their third straight year playing at the big arena in St. Paul in March.  They have won Section 7 championship three years running.

The Hawks were actually reigning champs of Section 7 six years ago.  They were “re-aligned” to Section 5 in the 2007-2008 season and promptly lost to St. Cloud Cathedral.  The year before, the Hawks beat Duluth Marshall for the Class A State title 4-1 at the Xcel.  Duluth Marshall was the Section 2A champs that year.  That state championship game between Hermantown and Duluth Marshall must have bothered someone, the two schools are 7 miles apart.

That is a 15 minute drive from each other, close enough that they probably “poach” each other’s talent.

Hermantown comes into this year tourney with “private school phobia”. Since beating Marshall in the state championship game in 2007, the Hawks have lost to St. Cloud Cathedral in Section 5A in 2008 and in 2009.  At the Xcel in 2010, the Hawks lost to Breck in the championship game, in 2011 to St. Thomas Academy in the championship game; and in 2012 to St. Thomas Academy in the championship game.

This could be their fourth straight runner-up year if the “private school phobia” does get to the Hawks.  After beating Duluth Marshall, the #3 seeded Hawks play the #2 seeded Breck team in the semifinals.  A victory over Breck could be followed by third straight championship game against the #1 seeded St. Thomas Academy.  All three Hawk opponents at the state this year could be private schools.

The opening minutes of the Hawks game with Duluth Marshall were boring.  Neither team did much.  Gradually the Hilltoppers started to get the edge, breaking out of their zone easily and establishing puck control in the Hawks’ zone.  For the next 10 minutes, it was all Duluth Marshall controlling play in the Hermantown zone with the Hawks getting the occasional rush and shot off a breakout.

With the first period almost over, it must have been a shock for the Toppers’ fans to look up at the scoreboard and see the shots on goal, Hermantown-8 and Duluth Marshall-0.

That became the theme of the game, the Hilltoppers could not beat the bigger, stronger, Hawk defense low in the Hawk zone.  The first period ended in a 0-0 tie.  The Hawks twice in the second period to take a 2-0 lead into the third and added a third goal five minutes into the period to end the scoring 3-0.

The Hilltoppers had another good year, but in the end they couldn’t beat the “big guys” at the blue line.  Maybe they should have poached some of the big guys.

St. Thomas Academy-12 St. Cloud Apollo-0

The Cadets marched into Xcel and executed perfectly.  They cut a gutty Apollo team apart and annihilated the Eagles offense.  It took Apollo nearly two periods to get their first shot on the net.  The Eagles ended up being out shot 50-3.  Still, nobody predicted the Eagles would be playing at the Xcel this year; St. Cloud Apollo has had a successful year reguardless of how the Eagles do in the consolation round.

St. Thomas Academy spread the scoring around the team.  Nine different players scored.  Cadet defenseman Jack Dougherty, a Minnesota Select last summer, had four assists.

East Grand Forks-3 Rochester Loudes-2

For two periods, the Green Wave looked impressive as they overpowered the smaller Eagles and contained their #1 line led by Alex Funk.  The EGF team just stonewalled the Lourdes forwards at the Green Wave blue line.  But a good team always finds a way to comeback.

East Grand Forks’ Kolton Aubol scored two first period goals late in the period to put the Green Wave up 2-0.  Tommy Hajicek scored what proved to be the game winner in the second period.  EGF led 3-0 going into the third period.  Then it became the Alex Funk show.

Funk in no candid camera guy, he plays for real.  Funk scored and had an assist as Lourdes closed the gap to 3-2 before time ran out on the Eagles.

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