St. Cloud Cathedral, Edina Win State Hockey Championships
The 75th Minnesota State High School hockey tournament has come and gone, with a new champ and an old one, an all-time tournament team honoring the legends, some great hockey hair and even a little bit of potential controversy. The tournament had a Cinderella team and even the obligatory tournament snowstorm.
St. Cloud Cathedral, the No. 2 seed, won their first state hockey championship 5-2 Saturday afternoon at Xcel Energy Center over the crowd favorite from Up North, Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin, who upset the top seed Mahtomedi in the semifinals. Take note that Greenway is not a town, but rather the name of the high school in Coleraine, honoring a forefather of the community.
Edina's championship was the 13th in their storied history when you count the titles won by Edina East. The Hornets won a thrilling back-and-forth battle with Eden Prairie 3-2 in overtime to claim the trophy. The Eagles led 1-0 entering the third period, having out shot Edina 26-9 to that point. The Hornets scored goals 22 seconds apart early in the third to grab the lead. EP came back to even the game midway through the frame but Edina scored the game winner at 2:31 of overtime.
It was Eden Prairie's overtime game with Lakeville South in the quarterfinals that almost created controversy. The high school league announced during the third overtime that if the game remained tied at the end of that period, it would be suspended until the next morning. A goal by EP at the end of the third overtime prevented that from happening.
I didn't see an official explanation from the league, but a crowd control issue could have been part of their thought process. The Eden Prairie-Lakeville South game was the second of the early session of the Class AA quarterfinals on Thursday. Large crowds were assembling outside the entry gates for admission to the evening session which was scheduled to begin at 6 pm. The arena still needed to be cleared and cleaned from the early games as the Eagles-Cougars game continued on. Crisis averted with the Eagles' win at approximately 5 pm.
South, the Section 1AA representative, won their consolation semifinal and lost the fifth place game to Duluth East 5-0. Cougars goalie Henry Welsh set a state tournament record with 131 saves.
The Section 1A qualifier was Minnesota River, a co-op of five high schools and at least seven towns. The tournament program indicates the conglomeration includes LeSueur-Henderson including Belle Plaine, Cleveland, St. Peter, Tri-City United and Montgomery. The communities filled several sections at the X. The Bulldogs lost 5-2 to East Grand Forks in the quarterfinals and 5-2 to North Branch in the consolation round.
The high school league named the all-time team to represent 75 years of the tournament, including coach Willard Ikola (Edina), John Mayasich (Eveleth), Mike Antonovich (Greenway), Henry Boucha (Warroad), Ryan McDonough (Cretin-Derham Hall), Gregg Stutz (Centennial) and Dave Spehar (Duluth East).
Many players spent months working on their hockey hair, leading to another entertaining video presentation of the all-hair team 2019.