Class 2A boys hockey semifinal: Edina pulls away late to top Cretin-Derham Hall

Puck luck wasn’t wearing purple and gold Friday night.

And that means an exciting season for the Cretin-Derham Hall boys hockey team could still end with some hardware, just not the one every team strives for.

Ryan Flaherty scored twice in the third period to break open a tight game and Edina beat Cretin-Derham Hall 4-1 in a Class 2A boys hockey semifinal at the Xcel Energy Center.

“This is a very close group that has been through a lot of emotions. It hurts right now, but I think the biggest thing we have to try to focus on is that we have one more as a group and we can do something that hasn’t been done at CDH for a while, which is to win a trophy and a meaningful one for the school and for our community,” Cretin-Derham Hall coach Matt Funk said.

That would have finished third. The Raiders won the state title in 2006.

Cretin-Derham Hall will face either Andover or Minnetonka in Saturday’s 4 p.m. third-place game before Edina plays the other for the title at 7 p.m.

At the post-match press conference, Simon Houge, Attila Lippai, Lucas Cernohous and Jake Fisher sat down with Funk. There were plenty of sniffles and red eyes as the emotions of a difficult season justifiably took over as a dream was shattered.

That family environment was needed because three months ago Mick Scanlan, a sophomore on the junior varsity hockey team, suffered a stroke. He died three weeks later on Christmas Day. It was determined that he had an aggressive form of moyamoya disease, a rare blood vessel disorder in which an artery in the skull narrows or becomes blocked. His brother, Colin, is a senior forward for the Raiders.

“I love you guys. I love the way you fight. You’ve been through a lot this year. You’ve helped a teammate and a community go through something that no 17, 18, 16, 15, or 14-year-old he should pass. I’m very proud of you,” Funk said. One of the players said, “I love you too coach.”

However, Edina (22-6-1) received a gift from the hockey gods with just under 7 minutes to play.

Down 2-1, a Charlie Sandven shot from inside the blue line whistled wide of the right post. In a split second, the puck came off the end boards and straight to Flaherty, who quickly went to the far side to beat Leo Miller, who had almost no chance on the play.

“We know that these plates are elastic. So we talked between periods if the D didn’t have anything to throw off the boards and it worked,” Edina’s Jackson Nevers said.

With Miller pulled for an extra attacker, Flaherty scored into the empty net with 2:27 left.

Miller made 18 saves for the Raiders (19-10-1), including putting up Lucas Cole to thwart the Edina forward with about 9 minutes left and keep his team within one.

But the Edina defense rarely let the Raiders settle on offense.

“They did a good job of suffocating us,” Cernohous said.

A Northern Michigan commit who entered with 34 goals, Fisher finished with 19 shot attempts; eight were at the gate. The Raiders finished with 24 as a team against Robbie Clarkowski, a Frank Brimsek Award finalist for the state’s top senior goaltender.

“The guys played really well up front, they blocked a lot of shots, so I didn’t have to do much,” Clarkowski said.

Bobby Cowan gave third-seeded Edina a 1-0 lead midway through the first period as he sped into the zone, beat a defender through the left circle and fired a pinpoint shot to the short side. But the Raiders responded on the power play with St. Thomas-commit Lippai slamming home a feed from Max Anderson.

Mason West proved that the fat goals are just as much as the pretty ones, giving the Hornets a 2-1 lead early in the second period, driving the net and putting in a rebound.

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