Although they’re 10-1-1 since December 10th and ranked in the Top 5 for the first time this season, the #5 St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders still understand that they’ll be faced with a tough test coming into Delano against the #3 Tigers.
“I expect that it’ll be a great game with lots of back and forth action. They are a good team and will probably come out flying, but I think we can handle them.” said Crusaders junior defenseman Kevin Hayward.
The Crusaders defense will certainly face a tough test against a Delano squad that boasts two of the highest scorers in the state. Senior forwards Ben Meyers and Brian Halonen are tied for third in the state with 28 goals each, and both are in the top three for points. Meyers is the state’s top points leader with 65, and also paces the state in assists with 37. Both players have helped Delano boast an offense that averages 6.53 goals per game, a mind-boggling 48.8% power play, and outscores their opponents by 28 goals in the first period.
As Hayward said in an interview with our own Mitchell Hess, “Our opponent having a very good first line puts the pressure on our second line to produce the points our first line can’t.”
On offense, Cathedral will face arguably their most imposing opponent of the season: Delano’s 6’7 junior blue liner, Tanner Glasrud, who leads the Tigers with 51 blocked shots on the year. It will likely be crucial for the Crusaders’ Jake Van Halbeck (23 G/22 A) and Michael Spethmann (19 G/25 A) to use their speed to avoid the path of Glasrud.
In the crease, both teams will look for steady games from their netminders. Delano has primarily utilized two goalies this year: junior Jackson Hjelle and senior Erik Peterson. Hjelle is 8-1-1 on the year with a .887 save percentage; whereas Peterson is 6-1 with .886 save percentage. For Cathedral, senior Jake Levinski is 12-2-2 with a .898 stop percentage. The winner of this 1A bout will likely be the team with the most consistent goaltending.
Here’s the link to the game, with Thomas Breach on Play-by-Play and Mitchell Hess on Color Commentary:
A Look at the Stats:
St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders: 14-2-2
Delano Tigers: 14-2-1
Interview with Kevin Hayward by Mitchell Hess. All statistics and rankings courtesy of Minnesota Hockey Hub, by the © 2013 Star Tribune Image of Alesis MultiMix taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach.