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Chanhassen keeps Cretin-Derham Hall's comeback kids under control

By Loren Nelson, Legacy Hockey, 03/08/24, 9:45PM CST


Although first-time Tourney entrants, Storm well aware of teams' history of blowing big leads

Chanhassen's Brayden Willis, left, leans into Cretin-Derham Hall's Aidan Siegfried during Friday's state Class 2A semifinal. Photo by Jeff Lawler,

Crazy, incomprehensible comebacks aren’t just commonplace at the state tournament, they are standard viewing fare.

Chanhassen senior forward Tyler Smith is well aware of the tsunami-like ebbs and flows at the Xcel Energy Center. Examples, after all, aren’t hard to find.

Cretin-Derham Hall beat Centennial in a Class 2A quarterfinal on Thursday after falling behind by three goals. Mahtomedi rallied to force overtime in a loss to Hermantown after trailing by four in the first period of their Class 1A semifinal on Friday afternoon.

“Yesterday, after seeing them come back against Centennial from three-rip, I just wanted to mention it,” Smith said about reminding his teammates of Cretin-Derham Hall’s comeback abilities during a first-period TV timeout in the Storm’s eventual 6-1 triumph over the Raiders on Friday in a Class 2A semifinal at the Xcel Energy Center.

Jack Christ put Chanhassen ahead 3-0 with 6:07 left in the first, and that’s when Smith stressed the importance of the Storm keeping their foot on the gas. Following his own advice, Smith made it 4-0 with 36 seconds left in the opening period.

“Any goal is a big goal, but from 3-0 to 4-0 right at the end of the first just kind of puts a nail in it, I would say,” Smith said. 

Cretin-Derham Hall coach Matt Funk was well aware of the mountain facing his Raiders after falling behind by three, then four. He knew anything was possible with his group of players, but Funk is a realist, too.

“We’re resilient, and we were going to give it our all,” Funk said. “I would say the second and third goals … even though we had done it the night before coming back from a three-goal deficit, against that team with a goaltender like that, it was going to be hard to do.”

Chanhassen’s Kam Hendrickson, one of three finalists for the Frank Brimsek Award that goes to the state’s top senior goaltender, shut out Rochester Century/John Marshall during Thursday’s quarterfinals. He made 11 saves against Cretin-Derham Hall as the Raiders were never able to sustain consistent pressure in the Storm’s defensive zone.

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