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In living color

By Loren Nelson, Legacy Hockey, 03/02/23, 6:15PM CST


Cretin-Derham Hall freshman Max Anderson scores huge goals, scales Braemar glass - just as he'd envisioned

Cretin-Derham Hall freshman Max Anderson scores a first-period goal against St. Thomas Academy on Wednesday in the Raiders' 4-2 win over the Cadets in the Section 3AA championship. Photo by Loren Nelson,

A daydreaming Max Anderson envisioned himself scoring a clutch goal in a big game. What kid hasn’t? 

Anderson is different in that he dreams in technicolor detail, which is to say he’s seen himself climbing the boards and scaling the glass at green-on-green Braemar Arena, then screaming with joy at the purple and gold horde going bonkers in front of him.

As they often do in section championship games, dreams turned into reality Wednesday night for Anderson, a Cretin-Derham Hall freshman who doubled down on his visions by scoring twice in the Raiders’ 4-2 victory over arch rival St. Thomas Academy for the Section 3AA title.

“I’ve always wanted to jump up on the glass. And I made it up there,” Anderson said. “It was awesome, all the adrenalin. I don’t even know how to describe it.”

Anderson even saw a few familiar faces in the sea of students. 

“Oh yeah, all my freshmen were down there,” he said. 

Anderson’s power-play goal 3:33 into the first period had the effect of a torch to a pool of gasoline, setting off the Raiders’ student section that spanned parts of three bleacher sections on the Cretin-Derham Hall side of the rink. Anderson added an assist on linemate Jake Fisher’s goal less than two minutes later, adding more fuel to the fire.

The 6-foot Anderson has been Fisher’s wingman all season, piling up 14 goals in 27 games, third-most on the team.  

“As a freshman, it's hard to step up in a game like this, you just try to do your best,” said Fisher, one of 10 finalists for the Mr. Hockey Award and a Northern Michigan commit. “But he's a big-time player for us. And that he scored two goals in the section final, probably the biggest stage he's ever played on, is really impressive.”

Fisher also had two goals, giving him a team-best 33 this season. 

“I feel honored to play with him as a freshman,” Anderson said. “He likes to move the puck to me … we work well together.”

Cretin-Derham Hall coach Matt Funk said Anderson is the type of player he would expect to play his best in the biggest of games.

“That's how he's wired,” Funk said. “I mean, he plays the game like a junior or a senior. He plays heavy on pucks. 

Playing with two seniors that are as good as (Attila Lippai) and (Fisher). You would think that he would just always default and look for them and throw the puck. But he's just so disciplined and detailed in his game.”

Lippai, committed to the University of St. Thomas, and Fisher approached the Raiders’ coaching staff at the end of the season and asked if they could be paired together on a forward line. Anderson, of course, was to be part of the mix. Funk and his staff acquiesced, and the unit accounted for all four goals on Wednesday.

“You wouldn't expect a freshman to be big and have such a physical presence out there,” said Lippai, second on the Raiders in points with 41. “But he isn't afraid of anything, he’ll go in the corners and he’ll battle.”

Funk said there are plenty of unsung heroes on the Raiders who had career games Wednesday against the Cadets. Still, it’s that top line, including the braces-wearing freshman Anderson, that provides that spark.

“They came to us and requested it," Funk said. 'So we're gonna ride ’em.”

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