Story: Boys hockey skates past St. Cloud Cathedral and into state semifinal against Hermantown

Breandan Gibbons, Online Sports Editor

Speed kills, and for the St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders, it killed their chance at a state championship. The St. Paul Academy and Summit School Spartans used their speed to skate past Cathedral, 4-2, to advance to the state semifinal and put themselves one win away from the state championship game. The Spartans dominated with their speed and outshot the Crusaders 43-14, with most of SPA’s opportunities coming on the break.

“We played like the better team,” senior Justin Jallen said, “We knew we had it in us to win this game.”

SPA dominated in terms of pace of play, but were unable to take control on the scoreboard until the third period. SPA held a brief lead in the second period after junior Jack Johnston roofed the puck from an impossible angle over Cathedral goalie Keegan Karki. However, Cathedral tied the game 34 seconds later at 2-2. In the third period, SPA held the Crusaders to two shots on goal and asserted their dominance over Cathedral.

The dominance showed up on the scoreboard with five minutes to play in the period when sophomore Dev McCabe sent the puck passed Karki’s blocker to make the score 3-2. Senior Justin Jallen capped off the night with a well deserved empty net goal. Jallen was working hard all night to try to will the Spartans into the semifinal.

Cathedral goalie, Keegan Karki, kept the Crusaders in the game all night, making big save after big save.

“[Karki] is a heck of a goal tender,” head coach Matt Funk said, “We just had to keep pressing and we knew we would break through.”

“We just had to keep shooting the puck,” Jallen said, “Keep peppering the net with pucks and we would get the goal.”

The Spartans’ speed and skill really allowed them to continue piling pressure on the Crusaders so that SPA could take the lead in the third period, and even though this is the first time SPA qualified for the MSHSL state tournament, the moment was not too big for the Spartans.

“We have two big game players right here [McCabe and Jallen],” Funk said, “And we’ve got a locker room full of them right over there.”

The win advanced SPA to the state semifinal against the #1 seeded Hermantown Hawks. Hermantown has been the runner-up of the past six Class A state tournaments. The game will take place at 1:00 at the Xcel Energy Center, there will be fan buses and the second half of Service Day will be cancelled.