Boys Hockey Class AA Quarterfinal --- Eden Prairie 6, St. Thomas Academy 2
Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - 8:32 PM
Eden Prairie continued its season mastery over St. Thomas Academy with a 6-2 victory in the Class AA quarterfinals of the Minnesota State High School League’s boys hockey state tournament on Wednesday, March 31 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Five goals in the third period sparked the top-seeded Eagles (19-1-2) to their third victory over the unseeded Cadets (13-5-3) since March 6. In previous meetings during the modified 2020-21 season, Eden Prairie recorded 3-2 and 5-2 victories, respectively. The stakes were certainly bigger this time with a berth in the big-school semifinals awaiting the winner. Eden Prairie is attempting to win the Class AA crown for the first time since 2011. In that span, the Eagles have been the big-school runner-up three times, including the past two seasons.
Senior forward Carter Batchelder snapped a 1-all deadlock early in the third period when he cashed in on a rebound while in traffic in front of the St. Thomas Academy goal. Just more than a minute later, the Eagles pushed the lead to two goals on a one-timer by senior forward Riku Brown. The surge continued with 7:32 remaining when junior forward Jackson Blake zipped down the left side and completed the scoring play with a soft backhand from in front.
St. Thomas Academy climbed to within 4-2 with 4:49 remaining regulation on a stuff-shot by senior forward Tanner Brouwer, but the Eagles merely answered with two more close in the closing minutes.