State Boys Hockey: St. Cloud Cathedral moves on to Class A final after comeback OT win over Warroad

Highlights: St. Cloud Cathedral beats Warroad Class A semifinals boys hockey

St. Cloud Cathedral used a series of dramatic comebacks to find its way into the Class A championship game for the first time since 2019.

To wit: The No. 3-seeded Crusaders trailed early by two goals; gave up what looked like the winning goal in the closing minutes to No. 2 Warroad, but found enough composure and fight to force overtime. And then, the crescendo; a stirring, drama-filled goal early in overtime to record a 4-3 victory over the Warriors on Friday, March 8 at the Xcel Energy Center. 

***Click the video box above to watch highlights***

Junior center John Hirschfeld scored on a backhand rebound during a scramble to complete the comeback that put the Crusaders (25-4-1) into a championship berth for the first time since winning it five years ago. It was Hirschfeld’s heroics that put St. Cloud Cathedral into that position. He forged overtime when scored with 1:09 left in regulation on a terrific individual effort where he danced around two defenders before slicing a backhand past Warroad senior goalie Patrick Kennedy.

About five minutes earlier, Warroad (24-6-0) looked poised to be taking a third consecutive trip to the Class A championship game when sophomore wing Ryan Shaugabay spotted an unattended puck and poked it past Crusaders senior goalie Nick Hansen.

Hansen had made an initial save on a shot by senior defender Ryan Lund but the puck slithered free, leaving an opportunity for Shaugabay. By the time the official had blown his whistle to stop play and wipe out the goal, the puck had crossed the goal line. After review, the goal was confirmed.

Moments earlier, Warroad was on a five-minute power play after a major penalty was assessed. But early into the player advantage, the Warriors were called for a penalty and both teams engaged in a 4-on-4 game that had plenty of skating and scoring chances. When Warroad’s penalty expired, it set the stage for what appeared to be that winning goal.

The Crusaders’ victory mirrors a win over Warroad earlier this season when they recorded a 3-2 overtime victory on Nov. 25 during a trip to northern Minnesota.