By Jake Schroer
Crow River News Sports
The STMA Knights hockey team avoided an upset loss against St. Cloud in the section quarterfinal but lost to Roseau at home in the semifinal to end its bid at a state tournament berth.
St. Cloud gave the Knights all they could handle, but a strong third period helped STMA get the win to avoid a first round upset, 5-4.
Tyler Lunderby (Nick Portz) scored a few minutes into the game to give the underdog a 1-0 lead.
Jordan Drobinski (TJ Swenson, Blake Spetz) tied the game minutes later, but Lunderby (Portz, Conner Doucette) gave St. Cloud another lead late in the period.
Lunderby (Noah Bissett, Nick Richert) completed the hat trick in the second period, making the score 3-1. Drobinski (Cody Kelly, Jack Kelly) got his second goal, but Carter Rieland (Bissett) put the Knights back down by two goals.
Max Helgestad (Nick Putnam, Cole Lehmann) gave the Knights life with a late goal in the second.
The two teams continued to skate with that score in the third period. When Blake Spetz (Adam Flammang) tied the game late in the third, overtime seemed imminent.
However, Spetz (Drobinski, Zach Sjelin) knocked another goal into the net just before the Knights crashed it. It appeared close, but the goal counted and STMA took the lead for good.
Head coach Jerr Johnson said that the Knights have been good in the third period all season and they kept pressing to get the win.
“We had a lot of resiliency. We got down by two a couple times during the game and we just kept battling back,” Johnson said.
“We had to fight back against a lower seed tonight, really gutty,” Spetz said.
The Knights had another thrilling game in the section semifinal; this time against Roseau, who took the game 6-5 to end STMA’s season.
This time, it was the Knights who got off to a fast start; goals by Zach Sjelin (Blake Spetz) and Jordan Drobinski within the first two minutes of the hockey game got STMA out to a 2-0 lead.
Roseau would answer; Nathan Adrian (Alex Verbout, Bryce Johnson) and Bryden Stoskopf (Verbout, Alec Severson) scored and the game was tied after less than seven minutes.
Quick scoring continued as a trend. Stoskopf (Nick Geroy, Verbout) tallied another goal just 17 seconds into the second period. Jake Benson (Garrett Sandberg) followed to tie the game 3-3.
Back and forth the two teams went; Brandon Lund (Aaron Huglen, Trevor McMillin) struck to give Roseau a 4-3 lead, but Jack Kelly (Carson Wooters) knotted up the score again.
Blake Spetz (Adam Flammang) gave the Knights a 5-4 lead early in the third. Adrian (Bryce Johnson, Stoskopf) tied the game and Stoskopf (Adrian, Huglen) completed a hat trick with the game-winning goal.
The loss ended STMA’s season.