STMA beats Irondale 4-3 in Bluejacket Breakaway Classic
BY ROB LAPLANTE
Sun-Focus Sports Writer
With the school year inching closer by the day, the boy’s summer hockey camps are winding down in full force.
The latest scrimmages involved six teams at the annual Bluejacket Breakaway Classic, hosted by Cambridge-Isanti July 27-28 at the Andover Community Center.
One matchup featured a battle of Knights. Irondale took on St. Michael-Albertville in a scrimmage featuring the North Suburban Conference versus the Mississippi 8 Conference.
While wins and losses are not the telling tale when it comes to summer developmental camps, STMA head coach Jeremiah Johnson said it is a promising start to what he hopes is a successful season. STMA recently went 5-0 at the Princeton Classic and went 5-0 at the Bluejacket Breakaway Classic.
Johnson said the summer wins are nice, but the key this time of year is forming a team and gaining chemistry.
“We’ve been playing a mixture of varsity and some younger guys who have stepped in and done a great job,” Johnson said. “It’s exciting. As coaches, that’s all you can ask for in the summer, is guys compete and be coachable and that’s nice to have.”
With both STMA and Irondale playing close to a full lineup, it was STMA coming out with a 3-1 victory. The game featured both teams playing half varsity and half bantams in their lineups.
Irondale started all-conference senior goalie Esko Aukee and STMA split the game between Kyle Hayden and Trent Olson.
The summer scrimmages are played under two 25-minute, running time periods. Aukee made several key saves in the opening 25 minutes, but a redirect in front of the net off the stick of Connor Spetz gave the Knights a 1-0 lead.
Spetz scored two goals in a 4-0 victory over Cambridge-Isanti earlier in the day. “Spetz is a junior captain for us this year and he’s put a lot of time into his game and has really grown as a player.”
Irondale tied it 1-1 with 10 minutes left in the game, but shortly after, STMA took the lead for good on a wrist shot from the point that eluded Aukee. They added an insurance goal with a couple minutes left in the game on a nice move on a breakaway goal.
Johnson said one of the highlight wins this summer came in a 7-6 win July 20 over Rogers in the Princeton tournament. He added any win over Rogers is nice.
“It’s been six years since we beat them in hockey,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of our biggest rival in sports, so even though it’s summer hockey, it’s still nice to get a win over them.”