St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- A controversial penalty called against Hermantown in the waning minutes led to a St. Thomas Academy goal with six seconds left in the game, marking the game-winning tally as the Cadets earned a third straight Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) Class A championship.
Scott Wasbotten was called for holding at the 15:03 mark of the third period as he and a Cadets player raced for a puck in the St. Thomas Academy zone.
It appeared that each of the players initiated some of the contact, causing both to fall and slide into the corner boards.
Tommy Novak then scored a power play goal on a slapshot to the top shelf, earning St. Thomas Academy a third win in as many years over Hermantown in the state championship game.
"This is probably the most difficult loss I've ever had in my entire life right there," Hermantown head coach Bruce Plante said. "You get calls like that at the end of a game that weren't even calls."
The Hawks seemed to take control of the game with three goals in the second period, but the Cadets scored three of their own in the third to complete the comeback.
Hermantown got goals from Chris Benson, Scott Wasbotten, Ryan Kero, and Lane LeGarde in the losing effort, with Adam Smith making 30 saves in between the pipes.
"I've never played with a better group of 20 kids ever, and I've been on some pretty fun teams," Benson said. "We were so tight, so close-knit. It was seniors, juniors, sophomores, and coaches. I've never had more fun playing hockey."
This marked the fourth straight season Hermantown made it to the Class A championship game, all four times finishing as the state runner-up.