COURTESY OF FORUM
By: Ryan S. Clark, Forum Communications
ST. PAUL — A state title might be out of reach, but there’s still a chance of taking a trophy back to Thief River Falls.
St. Thomas Academy broke out in the third period with three goals, beating the Thief River Falls 5-0 on Friday in the semifinal round of the Minnesota state Class A boys hockey tournament at the Xcel Energy Center.
“I thought we came out and played pretty decent in the third,” said TRF coach Tim Bergland. “But once they scored, we played back on our heels and we played not to lose. They’re good and they come at you.”
The Prowlers (20-9-1) will face Hibbing-Chisholm (18-10-2) in the third-place game, which will be played at 9 a.m. today. St. Thomas Academy (25-6) will face Hermantown (25-3-2) for the state title.
St. Thomas’ big third period was the product of wearing down a bigger, physical Thief River Falls team.
Cadets coach Tom Vannelli said beating a team like the Prowlers meant quick puck movement.
St. Thomas was quick when Zach Schroeder scored with 18 seconds left in the first for a 1-0 lead.
“Coming into a state tournament, you always have to be ready for a big game,” said Schroeder, who finished with two goals and an assist. “You know they did get here for a reason.”
Schroeder’s goal gave the Cadets a bit of breathing room, but it wasn’t much because of Prowlers goalie Jon Narverud.
The Cadets continually created chances and rushes that Narverud was able to stop until Andrew Commers increased the lead to 2-0 with 9:47 left in the second.
Yet it wasn’t like the Cadets were safe given the Prowlers came back from a two-goal hole in a 7-5 upset against two-time defending state champion Breck in the quarterfinal round on Wednesday.
“Our thing was we didn’t want to give them life,” Vannelli said. “They were going through the motions and we wanted to keep it that way.”