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Boys hockey: St. Thomas stops Pioneers to gain share of CSC lead
The Hill-Murray Pioneers took their number one state ranking and 6-0 Classic Suburban Conference leading—14-2 overall—boys’ hockey records into the St. Thomas ice arena Jan. 23.
When a couple of hours elapsed and they emerged for the ride back home, Hill-Murray no longer was all alone atop the CSC.
St. Thomas had inflicted them with a 4-2 defeat that left them tied with the Cadets with identical 6-1 records.
Earlier in the year—back on Dec. 12 at Aldrich Arena—the Pioneers had knocked off their rival Cadets 3-2 and Hill-Murray kept its unblemished CSC mark.
It wasn’t to be, however, when the Pioneers—even though Hill-Murray owned a 34-18 advantage in shots on goal—ventured onto the Cadets’ home ice.
Taking the lead
St. Thomas gained the upper hand with the first two goals of the game.
Alex Broetzman sent a feed across to Peter Tufto and the wily junior centerman pounded a shot through the pipes of the Hill-Murray goal for a 1-0 lead at 4:36 of the opening stanza.
Play continued at a furious pace until five minutes later it was Broetzman taking a feed from Seamus Donohue and Tom Novak and converting for the 2-0 Cadets’ margin at 9:32.
The Pioneers finally were able to count one of their 13 first-period shots when Joey Anderson and Tyler Funk combined to hit the blade of Mickey Anderson. The eighth-grade defender let fly a laser shot that found the back of the St.Thomas goal at 13:58.
Early in the second session, the Hill-Murray precision passing paid off when Mitch Slattery feathered a feed to Dusty Krueger and just 45 seconds into the second period, the score was knotted at 2-2 when Krueger’s blast found pay dirt.
Late in the second canto the Pioneers were assessed an elbowing penalty.
Just 12 seconds before the Hill-Murray penalty kill would have been successful, feeds from Tufto and Donohue found Novak in the slot and he made good on a shot to the back mesh of the Hill-Murray goal at 15:56. It turned out to be the game winner.
Capitalizing on success
The St. Thomas defense stood its ground in the third 17-minute session and gave their offense and opportunity they didn’t pass up.
Novak—his third point of the game (1-2)—sent a pass to the stick of Christiano Versich and the junior winger made sure on a shot at 10:58 for the 4-2 final.
The triumph by the Cadets gave them an identical 6-1 record. St. Thomas is 11-4-1 overall.
Hill-Murray will next travel Jan. 30 to play South St. Paul. They return to home ice at Aldrich Arena to take on North.
The Cadets will meet non-conference foe Cretin-Derham Hall Jan. 28 at Highland Park Arena. The Cadets return to St. Thomas Arena Jan. 30 to play Sibley and then stay home to meet Tartan Feb. 2 in a 3 p.m. scheduled start.
Games, unless otherwise noted, are 7:30 p.m. scheduled starts.
Wally Wakefield can be reached at email@example.com.