St. Thomas Academy head coach Mike Randolph is in his second season at the helm of the Cadets bench after spending 36 seasons at Duluth East High School.
Year Two has been nothing if not eventful.
Randolph claimed his 700th career coaching win in a 5-1 win over Tartan on Jan. 6. His next milestone is 708 victories, which will be the all-time wins mark for any head boys' hockey coach in state history.
“I think the exciting thing for me is to be able to coach in a lot of big games, section finals, rivalry games ... those are fun games to coach in," Randolph said. "I have been blessed to be able to do this for a very long time.”
Despite falling 4-2 to Edina on Friday, Randolph believes his Cadets - who have lost two straight - can find another gear when the section playoffs start.
“Overall, I am proud of the work ethic," Randolph said. "We have come a long way since the beginning of the year. There is no quit in them, and tonight was an example."
St. Thomas Academy prides itself on a culture of excellence. The Cadets' schedule is loaded with top-10 teams in Class 2A, a great primer for a team with state tournament aspirations.
“We need to have an identity by how we play," Randolph said. "The teams on our schedule will draw on our compete level, and bring our identity out in the guys. Rivalries will tell the team how difficult playing with the big boys will be.”
This is the Cadets' eighth season playing Class 2A hockey after moving up from Class 1A. St. Thomas Academy won five small-school titles from 2006 to 2013.
The team has embraced Randolph’s coaching style and its players are happy to learn from him.
“Coach creates an environment for our team where everybody has to work hard. If you don’t, you know there will be consequences," defenseman Brody Dietz said. "That compete level comes in practice and translates into the games."
Junior captain Will Dosan praised Randolph for the culture he created. “Battle drills are a big way of how we replicate our tenacity when gameday comes around,” Dosan said.
Dosan believes Randolph's systems have become second nature. “We know our special teams, and how we play. All the guys know coach Randolph is in his second season and that has contributed to our success a lot,” he said.
Edina’s Michael Risteau carries the puck through the offensive zone against St. Thomas Academy Friday night. Risteau had a goal and an assist in the Hornets’ 4-1 victory over the Cadets. Photo by Jeff Lawler, LegacyHockeyPhotos.com
Edina put the foot on the gas after a scoreless first period, netting three goals in the second as it rolled to a 4-1 win over St. Thomas Academy on Friday in front of a packed St. Thomas Ice Arena.
Michael Risteau started the scoring at the 7:05 mark of the second period. Bobby Cowan added to the Hornet lead after he received a setup pass from Mason West. Jackson Nevers completed the second-period scoring with just 23 seconds remaining. West tallied his second assist of the night on the goal.
The No. 5-2A Cadets (10-5-1) cut the deficit to two when Jimmy Zavoral capitalized on a power play early in the period. No. 7-2A Edina (12-2-0) got an insurance goal from Halverson, who secured his second point of the night.
Edina avenged a 3-2 loss to St. Thomas Academy earlier in the season at the Tradition Tournament at Dakotah Ice Center in Prior Lake.
The Hornets finished with a 24-21 shots advantage.
Edina’s Joe Bertram makes one of his 20 saves against St. Thomas Academy Friday night. Bertram added an assist to his performance in net during the Hornets’ 4-1 victory over the Cadets in Mendota Heights. Photo by Jeff Lawler, LegacyHockeyPhotos.com