ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — St. Thomas Academy wins Class 1A hockey title

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Three was the magic number Saturday afternoon for St. Thomas Academy.

Tommy Novak scored a power-play goal with 6.1 seconds left in the third period and St. Thomas Academy scored the final three goals to win its third straight Class 1A boys hockey championship by beating Hermantown 5-4. It was the third straight year the Cadets beat the Hawks in the final.

Novak, a sophomore on a team with 13 seniors, led the Cadets with 28 goals this season.

“If he keeps working as hard as he does, he can do anything,” said teammate Matt Perry, who had a hat trick.

The Cadets (27-2-2), who will be moving up to Class 2A next season, have won five of the past eight Class 1A crowns, but maybe none as controversial.

Novak took a pass from Wyatt Schmidt near the right wall and cut to the top of the slot. His slapshot beat Adam Smith high on the glove side.

Hermantown players and coaches were irate with the officials leading up to the winning goal. Coach Bruce Plante walked across the ice after the final horn while removing his hat to voice his displeasure with one official.

“It wasn’t a discussion. It was a comment or two or five,” he said.

Scott Wasbotten was whistled for holding with 1:57 to play after dragging down a Cadet in the St. Thomas Academy zone. Then, moments before the game-winning goal, Plante thought a penalty should have been called on Alex Johnson, whom Plante said had a Hermantown player in a headlock as the Hawk went for the puck.

“I didn’t think we should have had a penalty on the one we got, and then you got the same play at the other end and we didn’t get the call,” Plante said, choosing his words carefully.

St. Thomas co-coach Greg Vannelli said he didn’t see the play that brought about the power play.

Henry Hart also scored for the Cadets, the first team since Bloomington Jefferson (1992-94) to win three straight titles in either class.

“We all knew we could come back. We all knew we had it in us,” said Perry, who had seven goals in the tournament. He only scored 13 goals this season while often defending the other team’s top line.

It was fourth straight title game loss for Hermantown (25-5-1), which also lost to Breck in 2010. The Hawks got goals from Wasbotten, Chris Benson, Ryan Kero and Lane LeGarde.

“We wanted it but we just couldn’t get a bounce today, it seemed,” Benson said.

Trailing 4-2 entering the final period, Perry scored on a rebound at 2:53 before Hart scored midway through the period.

Hermantown took a 3-1 lead midway through the second period when Wasbotten and Kero scored 68 seconds apart.

“We felt like it was our game. We controlled the majority of the game, outshot them (23-20) and our guys went to war and laid it all out,” defenseman Jake Zeleznikar said.

St. Thomas cut the deficit to 3-2 when Perry slapped home a pass from Hart late in the period. But the Hawks regained a two-goal lead 37 seconds later when LeGarde scored on a slapshot.

Perry gave the Cadets a 1-0 lead late in the first period when he stuffed a backhand at the right post.

Then Benson scored on a power play goal 42 seconds later by knocking in a rebound of his wraparound attempt. It was the first goal given up by St. Thomas Academy in the postseason, a span of 270 minutes, 54 seconds.

Breck beat East Grand Forks 3-2 for third place, while Duluth Marshall beat Rochester Lourdes 6-5 for the consolation crown.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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