Hill-Murray tops Eastview
Top-ranked and No. 1 state tournament seed Hill-Murray barred the door but Eastivew kept sneaking in windows throughout the Pioneers’ 6-3 quarterfinal victory Thursday.
“We felt confident but Eastview fought and battled,” Pioneers coach Bill Lechner said.
The game seemed headed for a lopsided result. Hill-Murray led 2-0 after the first period on goals from seniors CJ LaChappelle and Zach LaValle.
Those goals overshadowed a tremendous glove save by Lightning goaltender Zachary Driscoll.
Driscoll, whose solid sophomore season helped Eastview to its first state tournament in 12 years, gave up two more goals early in a lively second period.
Hill-Murray led 3-0 after Colten Greeder went hard to the Eastview net and buried a pass from Zach Mills just one minute and 40 seconds into the period. LaValle added his second goal less than one minute later.
With his team ahead 4-0, Lechner started loosening the rotation and giving more players ice time. Meanwhile, Eastview captain Mitch Beattie reminded teammates to turn their focus away from the scoreboard and look into their hearts.
Then the Lightning struck. Twice. Goals from Keith Muehlbauer and Mitchell Cerrato cut the Hill-Murray lead in half at 4-2.
Mitch Slattery restored a 5-2 Pioneers lead and capped a wild, five-goal second period.
Eastview got one final charge as Brett Schweiger scored at 7:20 of the third period to make it 5-3.
Lechner joked the two-goal lead caused him “to lose more hair.” LaValle said players did not panic.
“We knew they would fight back,” said LaValle, a veteran of four state tournaments. “This is the state tournament and no one is going to let up.”
Hill-Murray took control with Sam Becker’s goal from the blue line at 11:01 of the final period.
DAVID La VAQUE