Peter Schubloom of Benilde-St. Margaret's works past Blake's Jack Mortell. Photo by Loren Nelson
Thomas Gilligan possesses the sort of mind-blowing goaltending skills that can singlehandedly snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Not that the juggernaut that is Benilde-St. Margaret’s typically leans that heavily on Gilligan, a junior who most often is so rarely tested he could spend an entire game camped in the goal catching up on homework or texting friends to no ill effect.
Locked in a tie with arch rival and No. 2-ranked Blake late in the fourth quarter of the Section 6 title game on Thursday, June 2, at Roseville High School, the unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Red Knights most certainly needed Gilligan at his net-barricading best.
Benilde-St. Margaret's backup goaltender John Bowman. Photo by Loren Nelson
Yet there he was, watching the tension-choked closing minutes of regulation while crouched on the sideline.
With Gilligan sitting out 2 minutes, 30 seconds of penalties incurred after high-sticking Blake’s Al Barnhart, the Red Knights inserted backup John Bowman. A sophomore whose role had been limited to mop-up duty all season, Bowman never flinched under the burn of the big stage’s hot lights.
“I don’t even want to imagine the pressure he was feeling,” said Gilligan, one of the Red Knight’s stars during their state championship run last season. “It must have been pretty crazy for him.”
The Red Knights’ defense expertly pushed Blake to the outside, limiting the Bears’ man-advantage chances. There was, however, a cannon shot by George Ordway that Bowman snared as it was headed toward an upper corner.
“I was thinking somebody’s got to step up, and we had it,” Benilde-St. Margaret’s coach Colin Mulcahy said about his team’s fourth-quarter predicament “And we had it out of John Bowman. Unbelievable. Not the guy you would expect to step up and make the save of the game, but he did it.”
Christian Rekow of Benilde-St. Margaret's tries to find an opening past Blake's Peter Fisher. Photo by Loren Nelson
Gilligan returned with about 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for Simon Gondeck’s overtime goal with 1:21 remaining.
After that, pure chaos. Sticks and helmets and gloves in the air and Benilde-St. Margaret’s players racing across the field to celebrate with their sizable student section. After the mayhem, Gilligan took the time to talk up his goaltending mate.
“It was the worst feeling, sitting on the sideline,” he said. “I knew if they scored it was going to be all my fault. But Bowman just came up big and really saved my butt.”
Bowman, who drew a rousing cheer from his teammates when he accepted his section championship medal, clearly is a well-liked Red Knight. The surprise star only elevated his likability with his performance against the Bears.
“You don’t really think,” Bowman said. “You just kind of rely on your training an trust that your defense is not going to let you down, either.”
Blake goaltender Grant Dressen can't get in front of the game-winning shot by Benilde-St. Margaret's Simon Gondeck in overtime. Photo by Loren Nelson
1. Simon Gondeck, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
Pressure? What pressure? With a state tournament berth on the line, the junior midfielder fought through traffic and fired a high shot that ended one of the most dramatic and entertaining games in state history. Gondeck’s goal, his second of the game, came with 1:21 left in sudden-death overtime.
2. John Bowman, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
Three Star worthy? Yep. The sophomore goaltender played just less than 3 minutes while starter Thomas Gilligan sat out two penalties, but Bowman made a game-changing save on Blake standout George Ordway with the score tied late in the fourth quarter. "The Save" had his Red Knights teammates – including Gilligan -- going bonkers with approval on the sideline.
3. David Tearse, Blake
With Ordway finding precious little room to work his magic, Tearse, a senior midfielder, provided a boost by scoring three goals and sparking the Bears' stirring fourth-quarter comeback.
Junior midfielder Simon Gondeck scored with 1 minute, 21 seconds remaining in sudden-death overtime as defending MSHSL boys state champion Benilde-St. Margaret’s kept its unbeaten season and hopes for back-to-back titles alive with a 9-8 triumph over rival Blake on Thursday, June 2, in the Section 6 championship game at Roseville High School in Roseville.
Gondeck’s goal, his second of the game, boosted the No. 1-ranked Red Knights to 16-0 and gave them their second one-goal victory of the season over No. 2 Blake (13-3). The Red Knights beat Blake 10-9 on May 3.
With the score tied at 8 late in the fourth quarter, Benilde-St. Margaret’s survived the loss of standout goaltender Thomas Gilligan for 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Gilligan was called for two non-releasable penalties after his stick was ruled to have made contact with the helmet of Blake’s Al Barnhart.
With backup John Bowman, a sophomore, in goal for the Red Knights, the Bears managed only a few shots during its extended man-up opportunity. One of those shots was a rising rocket from Ordway that Bowman managed to snare.
Will Hoesley, Benilde-St. Margaret’s junior scoring machine notched three more goals, giving him an astounding 17 in three playoff games and 64 in 16 games this season.
Senior midfielder Taylor Topousis scored twice for the Red Knights.
Senior midfielder David Tearse scored three goals and senior attackman George Ordway added two for the Bears, who rallied from an 8-5 deficit to start the fourth quarter by scoring three unanswered goals.
Benilde-St. Margaret's sophmore goaltender John Bowman receives his section championship medal. Photo by Loren Nelson
Section 5 Playoffs
Section 5 Playoffs
Section 5 Playoffs
Section 5 Playoffs