O'Neill scores twice as STA tops Duluth East

by Matt Harrington

Since opting up to Class AA, the Saint Thomas Academy Cadets have not won a quarterfinal game in the State Tournament. That changed tonight as Ryan O'Neill scored two goals in the Cadets 3-1 victory over the Duluth East Greyhounds. 

One of the most notable things about the first half of the first period was the physicality of the Greyhounds, most notably Ricky Lyle. They threw the body around all over the ice to try and get under the Cadets' skin. 

Saint Thomas Academy responded with the first goal of the hockey game at 8:23 of the first period. With offensive zone possession, Ryan O'Neill sent a laser beam shot from the right faceoff dot to the back of the net and past the goaltender Brody Rabold. 

The second frame featured much of the same back and forth action as the first period. The Greyhounds were gifted a power play following a Ben Stucker penalty, and they took advantage of it. Charlie Erickson labeled the back of the net with a powerful backhand shot to beat goaltender Muzzy Donahue, knotting it up at one late in the second period. The Greyhounds continued their offense surge late in the second, hitting the post twice within a matter of minutes, but unable to produce the go-ahead goal. 

In the third, the Greyhounds extended their shots on goal advantage, but it was the Cadets who would break the tie. Ryan O'Neill scored his second goal of the game after burying a one-time feed in front of the net. O'Neill celebrated his goal with a 200 ft "Tebow" celebration. 

With the net empty, Saint Thomas Academy scored one of the weirdest empty netters you'll ever see: A long stretch ice pass bounced off a player at the far red line and went all the way down to the vacant net. McClain Baudette got credit for the goal. 

With the win, the Cadets won their AA quarterfinal for the first time. They were 0-3 in such games before tonight.

The Cadets will face off against the #1 Edina Hornets tomorrow night at 8pm.