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Hill-Murray upsets Stillwater 6-3 to claim final spot in 2A tournament

03/03/2017, 9:15pm CST
By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune

The Pioneers knocked off the third-ranked Ponies, breaking a 3-3 tie in the third period with a a goal by Joseph Quast.


Hill-Murray's Brock Bremer (20) scored a goal on Stillwater goaltender Seth Eisele (31) in the first period. Photo: ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com

Four consecutive section final meetings between Hill-Murray and Stillwater have featured the trappings of a budding rivalry.

Hill-Murray’s 6-3 upset victory of No. 3 Stillwater on Friday in the Class 2A, Section 4 championship at Aldrich Arena provided one of those games in which the favored team ran into a team that played much better.

The Pioneers, which went 3-4-1 to close the regular season, played the aggressors through much of the game. No. 11 Hill-Murray (18-5-4) was tenacious where the Ponies seemed, at times, tentative.

“We knew they were going to come hard,” Stillwater coach Matt Doman said. “And they did. They played hard and they played well. You’ve got to tip your hat to those guys.”

Hill-Murray led 3-1 on goals by Will Sonntag and Kyler Yeo scored just 12 seconds apart in the second period. Battling back, Stillwater (24-4) tied the game 3-3 when Thomas Bruchu scored just 1:28 into the third period.

“Probably both teams deserve to be in the state tournament,” Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner said. “What we truly believed, though, is during the year, we’ve played in a lot of those games against Edina and Elk River. So I think these guys had a comfort zone going into the third like, ‘We’ve been here before.’ ”

That confidence overcame a Ponies team that entered the game with eight consecutive victories in which they averaged 6.75 goals per game.

Hill-Murray went ahead for good at 4-3 on Joseph Quast’s goal at 10:36. The Pioneers hit the empty net twice in the closing minutes.

For Hill-Murray players, the finish was a dramatic opposite of last season when Stillwater’s Noah Cates won the game on a dazzling overtime goal.

“We had a little hiccup but coach kept us calm and told us to stay in it,” Quast said. “We stayed in it and we won it.”

First report

Hill-Murray upset Stillwater in a 6-3 victory Friday in the Class 2A, Section 4 championship at Aldrich Arena.

The No. 11 Pioneers, which went 3-4-1 to close the regular season, knocked off No. 3 Stillwater, which entered the game with eight consecutive victories and averaged 6.75 goals per game during that surge.

Hill-Murray went ahead 4-3 on a goal by Joseph Quast at 10:36 of the third period. The Pioneers hit the empty net twice late to win the fourth consecutive section championship meeting between these teams.

Check back later for more on the game.

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Micah Miller leaps to the fans after scoring the game winner.

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