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Cathedral pulls away from East Grand Forks

East Grand Forks' Nick Lund almost connects on a late game wrap around attempt against St. Cloud Cathedral goalie Jake Levinski Wednesday, March 8, 2017, during the Minnesota Class A state boys hockey tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. David Samson / Forum News Service

Each time St. Cloud Cathedral was seemingly going to pull away in Wednesday's Class A boys hockey quarterfinal matchup, East Grand Forks pulled the Crusaders back. In the third period, the Green Wave had no more pull left in them.

"We were chasing the game from the drop of the puck," East Grand Forks coach Scott Koberinski said. "Seems like we were always chasing Cathedral. I thought they really did an outstanding job and our guys just couldn't match their intensity they had tonight."

St. Cloud Cathedral has a date with top-ranked Hermantown in the semifinals thanks to a 6-3 win over East Grand Forks at Xcel Energy Center.

"We know Hermantown is really good," St. Cloud Cathedral coach Derrick Brown said. "Everyone knows what (Hermantown coach) Bruce Plante has built. They are the team in Class 1A."

No. 4 seed East Grand Forks had a tough test early, as 34 seconds into the game the Green Wave had two in the penalty box. For 1 minute, 43 seconds No. 5 seed St. Cloud Cathedral had a 5-on-3 advantage. East Grand Forks sophomore goalie Tucker Brown almost single-handedly kept the game scoreless, stopping eight shots during the two-man advantage for the Crusaders.

Less than a minute after killing both penalties, Justin Kallock fired from the right point and Cody Wolff's redirect found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead for the Green Wave (17-9-2).

"First of all we told them how proud we are of them," Koberinski said. "We knew this wasn't our best game of the year. It was an untimely game for them. Cathedral played a very good game tonight."

St. Cloud Cathedral (21-6-2) made East Grand Forks pay on its third penalty of the first period when Jake Van Halbeck's centering pass from behind the net found Nate Warner in the high slot. Warner's one-timer fired by Brown and the Crusaders had the equalizer 6:34 into the first.

Quinton Young sent a perfect feed to Reagan Garden in the slot, and Garden went forehand to backhand and into the back of the net to put St. Cloud Cathedral up 2-1 with 1:18 left in the first.

With East Grand Forks on a power play, Michael Spethmann blocked a shot for St. Cloud Cathedral, opening up a 2-on-1 for the Crusaders. Spethmann went to Van Halbeck and he went top shelf for a short-handed goal 2:03 into the second.

The cushion didn't last long, as Casey Kallock stuffed home a rebound to pull East Grand Forks back within one five minutes later.

St. Cloud Cathedral had its chance to put the game away. After Spethmann put the Crusaders up 4-2 with 4:17 to go, the Crusader had another 5-on-3 advantage, this time for 1:47. They couldn't add to the lead, and Hunter Olson cut the lead to 4-3 for East Grand Forks with a minute left in the second.

"I thought we didn't play very well in tonight's game," Koberinski said. "The number of chances was uncharacteristic of our team. They skated very well. They moved the puck tremendously and they had some big bodies ... they were physical. We couldn't keep up with their speed tonight."

The Crusaders pushed the lead back to two when Young forced a turnover in the East Grand Forks zone, found Garden in the high slot and Garden found his second goal of the night early in the third.

"Throughout the year we've been a strong third line to be there when we need it," Garden said. "I think from the drop of the puck in the first period we definitely came out strong, and it did feel like they were chasing us."

Van Halbeck scored on the empty net with 36.5 seconds and the Crusaders were headed to the semifinals.

"I thought we played really well," Brown said. "Second period got a little bit hairy there, but in the third I thought we responded."

St. Cloud Cathedral 6,

EGF Senior High 3

First period—1, EGF, Wolff (J. Kallock), 3:23. 2, SCC, Warner (Van Halbeck, Beltz), 6:34, pp. 3, SCC, Garden (Young), 15:42.

Second period—4, SCC, Van Halbeck (Spethmann), 2:03, sh. 5, EGF, C. Kallock (Beck, Derrick), 6:42. 6, SCC, Spethmann (Warner, Van Halbeck), 12:43. 7, EGF, Olson (Lund), 16:00.

Third period—8, SCC, Garden (Young, Savoie), 1:35. 9, SCC, Van Halbeck (Hirschfield, Spethmann), 16:23, empty net.

Goalie saves—SCC, Levinski 8-3-12—23. EGF, Brown 13-11-7—31

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.

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