No. 2 Gentry Academy notched three goals in the third period to earn a come-from-behind 5-3 win over No. 3 East Grand Forks in the first Class 1A semifinal Friday afternoon at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The win sends the Stars to the Class 1A title game in their first-ever tournament appearance, where they’ll play the winner of No. 4 Little Falls and unseeded Dodge County tomorrow (April 3) at 6 p.m.
East Grand Forks (14-9-0) twice led by two goals (2-0, 3-1) and carried a 3-2 edge into the second intermission, but Gentry Academy’s depth and offensive firepower finally broke through in the third.
Hall tied the game as an East Grand Forks power play expired when he won a battle in the corner, powered his way to the front of the net and tucked a shot just inside the far post in the opening minute of the third period. Mosley collected the eventual game-winner on an odd-man rush at 9:12, and Sajevic capped the scoring on a nice tic-tac-toe play 74 seconds later.
Hall’s first of the game cut the lead to 2-1 at the first intermission, and the teams traded second-period goals to set the stage for Gentry Academy’s comeback in the final stanza.
Trailing 3-2 in the dying minutes of the second period, Gentry Academy took a slashing penalty and gave East Grand Forks a golden opportunity to put the unbeaten Stars in yet another two-goal hole early in the third.
Gentry, which boasts a ridiculous 16 shorthanded goals this season, flipped the script and controlled play during the man-advantage. Hall buried just as the power play ended to tie the game at 3-3, and the Stars never looked back.
1. Barrett Hall, Gentry Academy - The junior forward was on the puck all game long and proved that while Gentry Academy might be known for its skill, the grit and determination of the Stars can’t be overlooked. HIs game-tying goal - a won battle that led to a drive to the front of the net through sticks and bodies before a deft finish - was one that would make even the old school hockey crowd smile.
2. Alex Timmons, Gentry Academy - Timmons looked human for the first 19:54 of the contest, surrendering three goals on just 11 shots. The Brimsek Award finalist settled in after that in a big way, though, turning aside the last 16 EGF attempts he faced.
3. Trey Ausmus, East Grand Forks - The North Dakota-bound Ausmus was as advertised, scoring twice while eating big minutes against the relentless Gentry Academy attack.
Gentry Academy will look to become the first undefeated Class 1A champion since Hermantown won the crown with zero losses in 2006-07.