ST. CLOUD -- Trailing by a goal midway through the game, St. Cloud Cathedral rallied for six unanswered goals in an 8-3 win over crosstown rival St. Cloud in Saturday's Hockey Day Minnesota opener at Lake George.
On a roster dominated by sophomore standouts, the second-year guys came through big for Cathedral -- the No. 7 team in Class A -- led by Jack Smith, who netted a hat trick and also had one assist. Blake Perbix, another sophomore, scored one goal and tallied three assists.
"It wasn't just me, it was everyone," Smith said. "It was a team effort; we just got pucks deep and the outcome."
In front of 6,322 fans at Lake George, Cathedral and St. Cloud traded first-period goals, with Smith getting the Crusaders on the board at 5:41. Nick Portz responded four minutes later for St. Cloud. The two teams traded goals 36 seconds apart later in the period as the clubs went to the dressing room tied at 2.
St. Cloud -- 12-5-0 and ranked No. 20 in Class AA -- took the lead 3:14 into the second on a beauty of a goal by Noah Bissett. Perbix knotted it back up 3:05 later before Smith's second of the day with 18 seconds left in the period on a breakaway after a long outlet pass from Jeron Hirschfeld.
"Once we got up 3-2, we got a little comfortable," said St. Cloud forward Nick Portz. "We didn't come out, and they came out fired (up). We deserved to lose that one."
That momentum carried into the third, when off the opening faceoff, the Crusaders (12-5-0) attacked the offensive end and scored on a goal by Jackson Savoie just seven seconds in.
"Seven seconds, that was a big goal," Smith said. "Momentum changer in the whole game I think. That kind of put the nail in the coffin right there."
The Crusaders continued to pour it on after that, scoring three goals in a span of 4:01 later in the period, including Smith's third of the afternoon, which came on the power play.
"Golden rules of hockey are never give one up in the first minute and the last minute and we got two of those," said Crusaders coach Derrick Brown. "That gave us a lot of energy, and it's just one of those things where I think after that they started pressing a little bit more, started handling it a little bit more than they probably should have and we took advantage of it after that."