With the 2020-21 season still months out, it’s time to take a look at teams from all over the State of Hockey and examine what happened this past season and what’s ahead. The next team we’re breaking down is St.…
With the 2020-21 season still months out, it’s time to take a look at teams from all over the State of Hockey and examine what happened this past season and what’s ahead. The next team we’re breaking down is St. Thomas Academy.
How last season went
The Cadets’ move to Class 2A has gone relatively well as they’ve become frequent entrants in the state tournament. But coming into this season, they had yet to make much noise at Xcel Energy Center playing against the bigger schools. They also entered this season with new head coach Trent Eigner, who had made the move from Lakeville North to sitting behind the bench for the Cadets.
With six games remaining in the regular season, St. Thomas Academy was well below its average performance as the Cadets held a 9-8-2 record. But they found some life in those final six games as they won all six. At the end of the regular season, St. Thomas Academy posted wins against Cretin-Derham Hall, Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Mahtomedi.
The early-season struggles plagued the Cadets as they ended up as the No. 5 seed in Section 3AA. After a 5-0 win on the road against Eastview in the quarterfinals, St. Thomas Academy sent the section tournament into chaos as the Cadets upset top-seeded Rosemount 3-1 in the semifinals.
Going up against Burnsville in the section final, St. Thomas Academy ratcheted things up defensively and won 2-0 to earn a trip back to the state tournament.
After coming through as an underdog in section play, the Cadets played that role once again in the state tournament as they went up against top seed and favorite Andover in the quarterfinals. In yet another stunning move, St. Thomas Academy played the role of spoiler with a 3-2 win.
In the semifinals, the Cadets pushed eventual state champion Hill-Murray to overtime, but the Pioneers emerged victorious in this battle of private schools. St. Thomas Academy finished off the season with a fourth-place finish after falling to Blake in the third-place game.
Who’s back and who’s gone
Jackson Hallum starred up front for the Cadets with 18 goals and 22 assists last season. He’s set to return for his senior season. Expect his name to be in the Mr. Hockey conversation.
As for other key returners, that list is short. Jaroed Wright (8G, 19A) was a key distributor last season but will likely need to be more productive on the goal-scoring side of things.
Carsten Lardy played a back-up role last season as a goaltender but will likely be relied upon more during next season. He appeared in six games while posting a 1.85 goals against average and .915 save percentage.
The list of graduating seniors is significant. There are two skaters who are significant: Andrew Boemer (7G, 15A) and Riley O’Brien (13G, 12A). Last but certainly not least, goaltender Tommy Aitken graduated after posting a .933 save percentage and 1.97 goals against average. His play in the state tournament was key to the Cadets shocking the hockey world in their win over Andover.
What to expect next season
St. Thomas Academy is pretty much a lock to be in the mix come March. There might have been some doubts emerging after how things went for the majority of the regular season. However, the late push by the Cadets likely means their run of success will continue despite some significant losses. It will be interesting to see how Eigner continues to put his stamp on the program.