Benilde completes emotional season as hockey champs

  • Article by: PAUL KLAUDA
  • Updated: March 10, 2012 - 10:39 PM
hide

Grant Besse was the big scorer for Benilde-St. Margaret's Saturday in the Class 2A hockey final against Hill-Murray.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Benilde-St. Margaret’s hockey coach Ken Pauly handled the seating chart for the postgame press conference.

“Besse, you’re going to want to be near a microphone,” Pauly said.

Besse treated Minnesota high school hockey fans to a performance among the greatest ever seen in 68 years of state tournament play.

He scored five goals, three of them shorthanded, to fuel Benilde-St. Margaret’s 5-1 victory against Hill-Murray in Saturday’s Class 2A championship at the Xcel Energy Center.

“I didn’t really know what to do,” Besse said of digesting the weight of his fifth goal. “I had to check back into reality and take in everything.”

Benilde-St. Margaret’s won its third state title in school history and first since opting up to Class 2A before the 2005-06 season. Saturday’s victory ended an emotional season on the ultimate high.

Sophomore Jack Jablonski suffered severe a spinal cord injury in a Dec. 30 junior varsity game. He was checked from behind into the boards and doctors have said he will not regain the use of his legs. His ordeal garnered national attention and led to mid-season changes to the penalty structure of Minnesota high school hockey.

Jablonski parked his motorized wheelchair in the family’s suite above the Benilde-St. Margaret’s student section on Saturday and cheered on his teammates. He joined them in the locker room after the game.

Pauly said the victory validated the talent flowing through the roster.

“What gets lost is that this is a talented hockey team,” Pauly said. He felt his team could make this sort of run but “did not imagine it would end in this fashion.”

Besse, a junior forward, gave Red Knights supporters much to cheer about and remember. He finished the season with 52 goals.

Each of Saturday's five goals was seemingly more electrifying than the one before. He struck twice within two minutes in the first period. On the second goal, a Hill-Murray clearing attempt hit Besse’s skates. He kept the puck and scored from close range.

“Once Grant scores a couple goals you know they are going to keep coming and coming,” forward Christian Horn said.

Besse completed the hat trick – but not his remarkable evening – with a shorthanded goal in the second period. Horn started the play by blocking Jake Guentzel’s shot from just inside the blue line, chasing down the puck and relaying it out to Besse for the breakaway.

“He had an exceptional night,” Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner said. “He made the puck bounce his way and took advantage of his opportunities.”

Guentzel set up Zach LaValle’s power-play goal early in the period to cut the lead to 3-1. The Pioneers got another chance as Benilde-St. Margaret’s captain Jake Horton was ejected for spearing. The Red Knights were assessed a five-minute major penalty and would remain shorthanded for the full five minutes.

Instead, Besse produced another dramatic scene. He broke away with the puck and buried a goal to put his team ahead 4-1. The Pioneers still had four minutes and 48 seconds on the major penalty but it did not matter.

“That was a back-breaker,” Lechner said. “We came a little bit unglued tonight, even the coaching staff.”

Besse still was not done. He scored his third shorthanded goal at 14:03, triggering more bedlam and further ensuring his place among tournament lore.

“He wrote himself into tournament history,” Pauly said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 12:00 PM
Chicago
Oklahoma City 2:30 PM
Cleveland
Dallas 5:00 PM
New Orleans
Indiana 5:00 PM
Orlando
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 4:00 PM
Team Foligno
South Florida 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 12:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Virginia 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Indiana 12:30 PM
Ohio State
Stony Brook 1:00 PM
Binghamton
Cincinnati 1:00 PM
UCF
Maine 1:00 PM
Hartford
Monmouth 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Marist
Rowan 1:00 PM
Princeton
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Rhode Island
Duke 1:00 PM
St Johns
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Siena
Drake 1:00 PM
Wichita State
Vermont 1:00 PM
UMass Lowell
Seton Hall 2:00 PM
Butler
NJIT 2:05 PM
South Alabama
Northern Iowa 3:00 PM
Illinois State
Louisville 3:00 PM
Pittsburgh
UMBC 3:30 PM
Albany
Niagara 3:30 PM
Iona
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
St Johns 11:00 AM
Villanova
Seton Hall 2 1st Half 18:00
Georgetown 6
Arkansas 0 1st Half 20:00
Florida 0
Maine 12:00 PM
UMBC
Vanderbilt 12:00 PM
Alabama
Lafayette 12:00 PM
Lehigh
UCF 1:00 PM
SMU
Utah 1:00 PM
Washington
James Madison 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
Delaware 1:00 PM
Drexel
Hofstra 1:00 PM
William & Mary
Hartford 1:00 PM
Albany
Binghamton 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Towson 1:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Wake Forest 1:00 PM
(17) Florida State
Georgia Tech 1:00 PM
Virginia
(22) Georgia 1:00 PM
(5) Tennessee
Drake 1:00 PM
Evansville
Iona 1:00 PM
Canisius
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Northwestern 1:00 PM
Penn State
Wisconsin 1:00 PM
Michigan State
Ohio State 1:00 PM
Purdue
Northern Iowa 1:05 PM
Indiana State
Butler 1:30 PM
Xavier
Creighton 2:00 PM
Marquette
Providence 2:00 PM
DePaul
Northeastern 2:00 PM
Elon
(2) Connecticut 2:00 PM
Cincinnati
Oregon 2:00 PM
Arizona
Bradley 2:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
NC State 2:00 PM
(23) Syracuse
(7) Maryland 2:00 PM
Indiana
Illinois State 2:05 PM
Missouri State
Colorado 3:00 PM
Washington St
Tulane 3:00 PM
South Florida
(14) Kentucky 3:00 PM
Missouri
(9) Oregon State 3:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Vermont 3:30 PM
UMass Lowell
Iowa State 3:30 PM
(8) Texas
Southern Ill 3:45 PM
Wichita State
(15) Duke 4:00 PM
(12) North Carolina
Miami-Florida 4:00 PM
(4) Louisville
(21) Minnesota 4:15 PM
(25) Rutgers
California 5:00 PM
UCLA
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close