The Cretin-Derham Hall boys’ hockey team can certainly feel better about its state Class AA tournament appearance earlier this month than it did a year ago when it qualified for the first time since 2009.

The Raiders put together a dominating performance throughout much of 2022-23, posting a 19-11-1 record and outscoring opponents 134-90. They also played much of the season with heavy hearts following the tragic death of sophomore JV player Cormick Scanlan, who died on Christmas Day after suffering a stroke. His brother Colin, a senior, skated a regular shift as a forward for the varsity.

CDH put together perhaps its most rewarding game of the season in the first round of state, stunning second-ranked Maple Grove 3-1 on March 9 at Xcel Energy Center. Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to follow that up in the ensuing rounds. The Raiders lost to Edina 4-1 in the semifinals the next evening and then to Andover 5-3 in the third-place game.

Improvement over last season

It was still quite an upgrade over last season, when CDH went two-and-out at state despite being ranked No. 1 at one point. Coach Matt Funk talked afterward about what a great experience this season was for his troops overall.

“This group has a lot to be proud of,” said Funk, noting that his team’s unseeded status made the win over Maple Grove all the sweeter. “It was a good run for us.”

“This group has a lot to be proud of,” said Funk, noting that his team’s unseeded status made the win over Maple Grove all the sweeter. “It was a good run for us.”

Superb in the opening round

The Raiders, who finished second in the Suburban East Conference this season, were superb in the opening round of state. They got a first-period goal from junior Charles Owens, though Maple Grove tied it up just seconds later.

The turning point came just over the halfway point in the second period when senior Holden Saumweber lit the lamp.

“Our third line had a really good shift and kept them hemmed in their own zone,” Funk said. He added that the third line did an outstanding job on the forecheck throughout the season.

Freshman Max Anderson added an empty-net goal late in the third period to seal the victory. Funk said the game couldn’t have been better executed by his squad.

“We took away the neutral zone from them and kept them outside,” he said. “They were looking a little shocked as the game went on.”

Tougher going against Edina

The semifinal game was not nearly as eventful as the Raiders simply couldn’t put enough pressure on Edina. Attila Lippai scored CDH’s only goal on a power play with 3:11 left to play in the first period, but the Raiders weren’t able to get their high-octane offense in gear as the Hornets limited their scoring chances.

In the third-place game against Andover, CDH appeared in control. The Raiders were ahead 3-2 with goals by freshman Nate Chorlton in the first, Lippai in the second and sophomore Max Bennett in the third. But Andover scored three goals within a minute as time wound down.

“It was a frustrating end because we had the lead almost the entire game,” Funk said.

Look for more good seasons to come

He said the Raiders should be solid next winter, but probably not as dominating as they’ve been the last two seasons. They’ll lose four of their top scorers to graduation, including East Metro Player of the Year Jake Fisher (63 points), Lippai (45), Simon Houge (37) and Colton Jamieson (28).

Junior Owens (28 points) and freshman Anderson (25) should be back, along with junior goalie Leo Miller, who posted a solid 2.49 goals-against average and .906 save percentage.

— Bill Wagner


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