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Late goal sends Benilde-St. Margaret's to Class 2A, Section 6 final after win over Wayzata

02/23/2019, 4:45pm CST
By Loren Nelson, SportsEngine

Junior forward Cooper Gay helped the section No. 2-seeded Red Knights past the No. 3 seed Trojans.

Friday was film study day for Benilde-St. Margaret’s. Red Knights coach Ken Pauly talked through selected highlights, many of them of them starring sophomore forward Jonah Mortenson.

“We showed a couple of clips of Morty against Holy Angels, when he had just some monster shifts,” Pauly said. “He would not be denied.”

The Mortenson Show, Part II was unveiled on Saturday afternoon at Bloomington Ice Garden, as the 6-foot, 200-pound speedster set up the winning goal with a burst of speed down the left wing and some dizzying stickhandling that pulled the Wayzata defense and goaltender Danny Fraga out of position.

Jonah Mortenson and Cooper Gay talk to SportsEngine's Loren Nelson after the 3-2 win.

Benilde-St. Margaret's Jonah Mortenson threads a pass past Wayzata's Michael North and Danny Fraga on the game-winning goal late in the 3rd period. Mortenson had two assists in the Red Knights' 3-2 win over the Trojans. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine

All he needed to do, then, was slide a pass to a wide open Cooper Gay, who cooly deposited the puck into an empty net with 2:41 left in the third period for a 3-2 Red Knights victory in the Class 2A, Section 6 semifinal.

“He’s not our fastest guy,” Pauly said about Mortenson, a Champlin native and nephew of former University of Minnesota great Todd Richards. “But he sure looked like it today. He had his wheels going.”

On two previous bursts down the left wing, Mortensen wheeled past Wayzata’s defensemen only to be denied on by Fraga on bad-angle, close-range shots. 

“You can’t go 0-for-3 coming down on those rushes,” said Mortensen, who had two assists in Thursday’s 7-1 quarterfinal rout of Holy Angels. “I think the goalie started committing my way, because on the previous two I shot right into him trying to go around him.

“He cheated too much and I hit him (Gay) on the back door.” 

Gay’s goal (he also scored Thursday against Holy Angels) was his 10th of the season. He came out of the St. Michael-Albertville youth system to join his longtime summer hockey buddy Mortenson. The pair flank center Charlie Bischel on the Red Knights' third line.

“The last two games that’s really been our best line,” Pauly said. “I think they have that good combination of grit but also patience with the puck.”

It helps that each player knows his role, then plays it to perfection. It’s a pretty simple formula, to hear Mortenson and Gay tell it.

“I do the work, he buries,” Mortenson said. “That’s pretty much it.”

Benilde-St. Margaret's players celebrate after their 3-2 win over Wayzata in the Class 6AA semifinals. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine

Benilde-St. Margaret’s (20-7-0) had defeated Wayzata 6-3 in the regular season and entered as the section’s No. 2 seed. The Trojans were seeded third. The matchup figured to be a study in contrasts, with the Red Knights, ranked No. 10 in the Class 2A state coaches' poll, playing a game predicated on speed and puck movement and the unranked Trojans (13-10-4) focusing more on puck possession and physical play.

The game played out true to form, for the most part. Wayzata outshot the Red Knights 30-21 but couldn't capitalize on its handful of prime scoring chances.

“Overall it was a good game defensively for us,” Wayzata coach Pat O’Leary. “They just made one play at the end, and we didn’t.”

BSM advances to Wednesday's Section 6AA championship at 3M Arena at Mariucci versus the winner between Edina and Blake. The 8 pm game will be the Red Knights' second appearance at the University of Minnesota arena this season.

Tag(s): News  Team