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Posted by Guest (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 3/7/2013 8:19:05 PM

By Luke Sleeper
John’s Journal Correspondent

No. 2 seed Edina put on an offensive show in Thursday’s state hockey quarterfinals against Lakeville North. Controlling the puck for much of the game, the Hornets made the most of their scoring opportunities, netting eight goals en route to a 9-3 victory. Lakeville North kept it interesting, but only for a period as Edina scored five goals in the second and was in cruise control from there.

Junior Connor Hurley got the scoring going for the Hornets, flinging a puck from the point with enough movement on it to sneak past Panthers goalie Will DuPont. Hurley, a future Notre Dame Golden Domer, wasn’t done there, scoring two more goals in his team’s big second period to give him a state tournament hat trick.

Coming into the tournament, Hurley hadn’t put up numbers that some had expected. Edina coach Curt Giles was adamant that his star forward has done just fine.

“Connor has taken his game to another level this year…he plays so strong on both ends of the ice now,” Giles said. “We don’t quantify our players by how many points they score. We expect our guys to be great on both offense and defense.”

Senior forward Anthony Walsh scored the second goal for Edina after a nifty backhanded pass by senior Dan Hinueber. Walsh also assisted on one of Hurley’s goals. Dylan Malmquist scored twice for the Hornets and assisted on another, while senior Bo Brauer kick-started the Edina second period with a goal assisted by sophomore Ben Foley. Hornets goaltender Willie Benjamin stopped 12 of 15 shots.

Keeping the Panthers’ hopes alive was sophomore Nick Poehling, who had his own hat trick. His first goal came late in the opening period, answering Edina’s first two goals and keeping his team in the game as it headed into the first intermission. Then came the Edina scoring barrage. Collecting assists for the Panthers were sophomores Jack Sadek and Jack Poehling, junior Tristen Hazlett and senior captain Erick Rutt.

Lakeville coach Trent Eigner said he aspires for his program to be like Edina's.

“I’ve been around long enough and heard the name (Edina) long enough to know that they’ve done a lot of good things with that program,” he said. “My hope is that our young guys, which we have a lot of, can learn a thing or two from a team like that.”

Edina will move on to play Duluth East in Friday’s first 2A semifinal.

HILL-MURRAY ADVANCES WITH 6-3 WIN OVER EASTVIEW

Hill-Murray passed its first test in avenging last season’s 2A state championship loss to Benilde-St. Margaret’s on Thursday. The Pioneers fought off a late charge by Eastview and ended up with a 6-3 win, advancing to the semifinals. Leading the charge was Mr. Hockey candidate Zach LaValle, who scored twice for the Pioneers and assisted on another goal.

Senior forward Curt LaChappelle opened up the scoring for Hill-Murray and was soon followed by LaValle’s first goal, giving the Pioneers a 2-0 lead after one period. Just a few minutes into the second period, Hill-Murray found itself up 4-0 after goals by senior Colten Greeder and LaValle’s second score. At that point the Pioneers may have put it into cruise control a little too soon.

“I think we let up a little bit and got away from our game (at 4-0),” LaValle said. “Then coach reminded us to stick with our system and play the game that got us here.”

If anyone knows how to coach in the state tournament, it’s Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner; 2013 marks the school’s 27th trip to state and the 10th under Lechner.

For Eastview, it was only their second appearance in the state tournament, a fact that seemed evident early on. It took a period and a half for the Lightning to start to ignore the bright lights and big stage.

“It took a little while for us to get our feet under us,” Eastview coach Drey Bradley said, “especially for an inexperienced team like us.”

The inexperience wore off in time for the Lightning to get back within two goals. Keith Muehlbauer finally broke the ice for his team, finding the net from the blue line as the puck narrowly got past Pioneers goalie John Dugas. Junior Mitch Cerrato scored with time winding down in the second; suddenly, it was a game again.

Hill-Murray went back to its game plan in the third period and began to bombard pucks at Eastview’s talented but young goalie, sophomore Zach Driscoll. Fresh off a hot section tournament in which the goaltender allowed just one goal to tournament favorite Eagan, the Pioneers knew they needed to be aggressive with him.

Junior Mitch Slattery gave his team a 5-2 lead, followed by the game-clincher from defenseman Sam Becker, flinging a blue-line shot passed the glove of Driscoll. Eastview forward Brett Schweiger made it interesting with a goal in the third, but it was not enough against talented no.1 seed Hill-Murray.

The Pioneers advance to Friday’s semifinals, where they will play Wayzata.

WAYZATA BEATS CENTENNIAL IN OVERTIME

After a couple of games that were decided long before the final buzzer sounded, the finale of Thursday’s 2A quarterfinals between No. 4 seed Wayzata and No. 5 Centennial went to overtime.

This was a game for the hockey purists; defensive players throwing their bodies across the ice, timely sticks swiping pucks from danger and clutch goaltending highlighted the close contest.

After a scoreless first period, Centennial junior forward Adam Anderson put the Cougars on the board by capitalizing on a rebound. The score remained 1-0 until the waning seconds of the game.

Dating back to 2004, Centennial had never given up a goal in the state tournament. The Cougars won the state title that year, shutting out each of their opponents. It wasn’t until there was only 1:15 left in the game that Wayzata broke that incredible streak.

Senior Jalen Wahl scored for the Trojans, propelling his team into sudden- death overtime. At 4:01 into the extra frame, Wayzata found the net again; this time it was Chase Heising with the game-winner.

Despite racking up a lot of penalties, Wayzata’s tough defense and a big-time performance by senior goalie Aaron Dingman kept their team in the game by thwarting a bevy of Centennial scoring chances.

With Wayzata’s victory, it means that all eight of the high seeds in both Class 1A and 2A advanced to the semifinals. The Trojans will face Hill-Murray in the late game Friday night.



 


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