The St. Thomas Academy Cadets closed out their Class A boys hockey run on a high note, led by Tommy Novak's game winning goal with :06.1 in regulation that gave them a 5-4 win over the Hermantown Hawks in the championship game Saturday afternoon at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
It was the fifth state title for the Mendota Heights based school who will move up to Class AA next season. St. Thomas Academy became the first school to win three consecutive titles since Bloomington Jefferson did it in 1992-94.
The Cadets got on the board with 1:48 left in the first period when Matt Perry found an opening on the left side of Hawk goalie Adam Smith and he put it in the net. The lead lasted 42 seconds as Hermantown's Chris Benson rebounded his own shot that ended St. Thomas Academy's unanswered goal streak at 24.
It looked like the Hawks would fly home down I-35 with their first state title since 2007 they would lead by two in the second period. First, Scott Wasbotten rebounded a shot by Joe Muehlbauer that entered the net. Then Ryan Kero would become a hero when he got a cross ice pass from Neal Pionk and he put it past Cadet goalie David Zevnik's left side. St. Thomas Academy would cut the lead to one when Henry hart fed Perry in the center slot and he scored a power play goal. Hermantown would counter 37 seconds later on Lane LeGarde's goal that barely went in the net. After a replay review, the goal stood.
Jerry Krieger, video replay official explained the criteria which allowed the goal to count.
"He didn't propel the puck with his hand."
St. Thomas Academy would come back with a three goal outburst in the third period. Perry would get the hat trick after he rebounded Gunnar Regan's shot. Henry Hart would make the large uniformed Cadet student section happy when he tied the game following up Jack Stang's shot. Then came the game winner. Wasbotten was sent to the penalty box for holding, putting the Cadets on the power play. Wyatt Schmidt's pass found Novak on the right point and he put it past Smith with :06.1 left to clinch the Class A title.
Benson was also the recipient of the Herb Brooks Award, which is awarded to a player who exemplifies the characteristics of the late coach.
In the third place game, Breck beat East Grand Forks 3-2. The consolation game at Mariucci Arena went to Duluth Marshall, a 6-5 winner over Rochester Lourdes.
Attendance at the Class A championship session was 6,894.