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Century/John Marshall survives against rival Mayo, advances to section semifinals

Feb. 22—ROCHESTER — Rochester Mayo played the game it needed to play if it was going to upset its crosstown rival in the postseason opener for both teams.

Rochester Century/John Marshall played the game it needed to play in order to survive and advance in a section tournament that was full of closely played games on Thursday.

After some stressful moments in the first two periods, Century/JM's game won out, the No. 2-seeded Panthers holding off No. 7-seeded Mayo 5-3 in a Section 1, Class 2A boys hockey playoffs quarterfinal game at Graham Arena IV Thursday night.

"We were patient, had a lot of patience with the puck," Century/JM coach Josh Klingfus said of the Panthers' ability to rally. "We tried to hit some long passes to try to expose them and be able to use our speed a little bit more. We just felt like we were a faster team and we had to use that to our advantage."

Century/JM (20-4-2 overall) will play host to No. 6 seed Farmington at 7 p.m. Saturday at Graham IV in a section semifinal game. The winner of that one will advance to the section final on Thursday, Feb. 29, at 7 p.m. at the Rochester Recreation Center.

"We just wanted to get it to the front of the net," Klingfus said. "Their goalie is big; he played well — he played well against us the last time we played, too — so we had to throw stuff off his leg pads, something he maybe couldn't handle as well, keep it away from his glove and stuff that he could control."

The Panthers and Spartans had played to a 1-1 tie just two weeks ago, a game in which Mayo goalie Dawson Desjardins was sensational, making 38 saves, including 25 across the second and third periods. Desjardins, just a sophomore, was strong again Thursday in his first varsity playoff game, making 39 stops.

Century/JM was able to convert on a few more chances this time, though. Now they'll get one more home game, at Graham Arena IV. The Section 1, Class 2A semifinals will be held at home sites this year, for the first time in at least 20 years. They previously have been held at the Rochester Recreation Center. The switch was made this year at the request of the northernmost teams in the section.

"It's nice to have another one at home, and not any traveling," Klingfus said, "but this time of year, it doesn't matter who you're playing, you know you're playing a good team. We just have to leave it all on the ice and see what happens."

Mayo grabbed the momentum early, when senior defenseman Mikkel Norby created a 2-on-1 break while killing a penalty. Norby carried the puck into the Panthers zone, looked off a defender, then snapped a quick wrist shot into the net for a 1-0 lead 4:29 into the game.

The teams traded goals in the first 54 seconds of the second period, with Mayo's Rocco Corl quickly answering a Panthers goal to put the Spartans back up 2-1. It was exactly the start Mayo had hoped for.

"We had to keep it very simple," Mayo coach Matt Notermann said. "We're trying to gain zones, get pucks deep and get onto our forecheck. And when we get chances, we had to bury them. We knew that was going to be the kind of game we needed to play. Our goalie made the saves we thought he'd need to make. They just scored on a couple of incredible shots.

"If we were to draw the plan beforehand, scoring right away, getting the pressure on them, that's exactly what we wanted."

That was Mayo's last lead, though.

Justin Sutton and Jonathan Burmester scored fewer than four minutes apart late in the second period for a 3-2 Panthers lead. Burmester's goal, assisted by Sutton and Aiden Emerich, gave Century/JM the lead for good.

Ole Fevold extended the lead to 4-2 on a sharp-angle shot that went in off Desjardins' back 4:26 into the third, then Calvin O'Reilly sniped the top corner from the right circle with 5:11 to play, making it 5-2.

Mayo senior defenseman Frank Goodman pulled his team within 5-3 with 1:18 left, but the Panthers' defense and goalie Kyle Lappi (19 saves) shut the door. Century/JM's depth was big in Thursday's win, and will be equally important going forward.

"Our expectations for our players is everybody brings something (different)," Klingfus said. "Some guys are fast, some guys can score, some guys can stickhandle or pass, some guys are physical. We've emphasized all year with every player, 'what do you bring to the table?' And what you bring to the table is what you have to bring every single night."

Mayo finished its season with a 3-22-1 record, but the Spartans were right in many of those losses. They lost seven games by one goal and four more by two goals this season.

They'll say goodbye to a 10-player senior class that Notermann said showed up every day wanting to learn and improve, despite not having the success on the scoreboard that they worked for. Notermann also went out of his way to offer a pat on the back to senior goalie Mikah Nelson, who split time much of the season with Desjardins, saying the senior handled it with "class and grace" when learning he wouldn't start Thursday's playoff game.

Other seniors included Frank Goodman, Gavin Nickelsen, Nathan Rosenberg, Mikkel Norby, Connor Dahl, Joe Berryman, Zach Driscoll, Braylon Gurtner and Colin Baudoin.

"The boys have come a million miles this year," Notermann said. "Every day they got a lot better. We have guys who fought their hearts out. And (Century/JM) knows they got played hard in a (2 vs. 7) game.

"Mikkel, I don't think he's ever taken a step that wasn't 110%. He is the hardest working person I've ever seen. There's nothing ever half-hearted. We are going to miss him a ton. Then Frank, (Rosenberg), (Baudoin), Driscoll, Gurtner, they've all come so far. All those seniors, all they wanted, ever, was to be a varsity hockey player. I'm super proud of them."

The Panthers will be without two veterans, Emerich and Owyn Tomminello, for Saturday's game against Farmington. They were given game disqualifications for a skirmish that occurred after the final buzzer Thursday. The Panthers won't be allowed to replace those players; they'll have to go with the 18 remaining players on their playoff roster.

"We'll be without those two guys, but we're going to make some adjustments," Klingfus said. "We'll just have to overcome it. We've overcome adversity many different times this year. Even the game tonight, we were down (twice) and we were able to overcome that."

NOTES: Century/JM outshot Mayo 44-22. In their final two meetings this year, Century/JM outshot the Spartans 83-43, but outscored them just 6-4. ... Saturday, Century/JM is seeking the first trip to a section championship game for a Rochester Class 2A team since Century went in 2009. The Panthers beat Lakeville North 5-3 that year. John Marshall was last in a section championship game in 2005, when it lost to Century.