Crusaders Suffer Heartbreaking Third Period Meltdown Against Tigers

Going into the third period down by one, #5 St. Cloud Cathedral needed to come out strong to avoid a loss to the #3 Delano Tigers.

They did exactly that, as senior forward Reagan Garden hammered a rebound past Jackson Hjelle to tie the game at 4 with 10:13 left to play.

That’s when the wheels came off for the Crusaders.

The Crusader defense finally broke down over the last 10 minutes, and senior goaltender Jake Levinski was overwhelmed by the firepower of the Delano Tigers. Gabe Halonen put one in with 6:02 remaining, and less than a minute later the state points Ben Meyers stretched the lead to 6-4 with his second goal of the night. Brian Halonen found the back of the net with 4:09 to go, effectively sealing the win for Delano. Meyers wasn’t quite finished, however, as he picked his fourth hat trick of the year with 11 ticks left on the clock.

Throughout the first two periods, the game was a back-and-fourth affair with both offenses playing very well. Defensively, it was not the same story. The Cathedral penalty kill was overwhelmed by the Delano squad that came in converting on 48.8% of their opportunities, as the Tigers found the back of the net on 3 of their 4 power play chances.

Final: #3 Delano 8, #5 St. Cloud Cathedral 4

By The Numbers:

Cathedral 4

Goals: Jake Van Halbeck, Michael Spethmann, Jackson Savoie, Garden

Assists: Van Halbeck 2, Mack Motzko 2, Matthew Wedin

Jake Levinski: 35 Saves on 43 Shots on Goal

Delano 8

Goals: Meyers 3, Kyle Ylitalo 2, Garrett Pinoniemi, G. Halonen, B. Halonen

Assists: Andrew Kruse 4, B. Halonen 3, John Keranen 2, Meyers 2, Ray Heikkila, Ylitalo, G. Halonen, Pinoniemi

Jackson Hjelle: 20 Saves on 24 Shots on Goal

All statistics and rankings courtesy of Minnesota Hockey Hub, by the © 2013 Star Tribune. Image of Alesis MultiMix taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach.


#5 St. Cloud Cathedral Goes to Battle with #3 Delano in a Battle of 1A Brutes

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:

Cathedral vs. Delano

A Look at the Stats:

St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders: 14-2-2

5.94 GPG

2.28 GAA

27.8 PP

85.5 PK

Delano Tigers: 14-2-1

6.53 GPG

2.88 GAA

48.8 PP

75.0 PK

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.