Cretin-Derham Hall Outlasts Hermantown in Battle of #1's

by Matt Harrington

Just two nights ago the #1AA Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders lost to their biggest rival, the St. Thomas Academy Cadets, for the second time this season. With a quick turnaround in roughly 48 hours, the Raiders responded with a statement win over the previously undefeated #1A Hermantown Hawks, 4-2. 

A goal from Attilla Lippai with 4:56 left to go in regulation was the difference maker for the Raiders, who also got an empty net goal from Jake Fisher. 

""I loved the team effort tonight. This team is starting to find their identity and find out what we need to do in big games", Cretin-Derham Hall Head Coach Matt Funk said.

Hermantown's Wyatt Carlson opened the scoring in the first period with his fifth goal of the season for the Hawks, after a wrist shot beat Raider goaltender Marco Belak on the blocker side. The Hawks held strong to finish the period, outshooting the Raiders 9-5.

Special teams played a big factor for CDH in the second period, as they tied the game up on a 5-on-3 goal from Zach Sondreal. The Raiders answered again less than a minute later on a goal from Gabe Rasmussen, and killed off a Hermantown 5-on-3 to close the second frame. 

The top-ranked Hawks came out hard and heavy in the 3rd, knotting the game up less than five minutes into the period. A scramble out in front led to Kade Kohanski scoring for the Hawks, his 3rd consecutive game with a goal. 

With just 4:56 to goal in regulation, Junior Atilla Lippai scored for the Raiders, giving them their first lead since early in the third period. His beautiful backhand was enough to beat the glove of Hawks goaltender Dane Callaway. 

"That was a huge goal for us", Raider forward Zach Sondreal said. "Obviously they battled back and showed some character, but Attilla buried it."

After Jake Fisher's empty net goal, the Raiders officially sealed the win, handing Hermantown their first loss of the season. 

"I have a ton of respect for Pat Andrews (Hermantown Coach). His teams are disciplined, and they play smart and the right way. In these kind of games, you've got to bear down and play defense", Funk said. 

Both teams were missing key players: Hermantown star Zam Plante missed his third consecutive game for the Hawks, while top line center Jake Sondreal missed his her first full game for the Raiders after sustaining an injury against St. Thomas Academy. Sondreal's injury will likely sideline him for another three to four weeks, according to Coach Funk. 

"You saw guys tonight that stepped into new lines and new roles", Funk said. I love how this group is playing with each other and for each other". 

Both Funk and Lippai had high praise for goaltender Marco Belak, who stopped 24/26 shots in the Raiders win. 

"Quite frankly, #30 (Belak) was awesome tonight", Funk said. "Especially after giving up five goals the other night, he was really a rock back there".

"He's always a calm presence back there. If we mess up, we know he's going to make a big save", Lippai said. 

The Hawks will head back home up north and look to bounce back beginning next Tuesday when they face East Grand Forks. Meanwhile for Cretin-Derham Hall, the schedule doesn't get any easier, as they still have Edina and Andover on the schedule in the next two weeks. Both those programs are currently ranked within the top five of our MNHockeyTV power rankings. 

"Edina and Andover are both well-coached. The neutral zone was tough to get through tonight and that's what we're gonna face with Andover", Funk said. 

A full album of pictures from this game will be available later tonight on tomorrow morning.