hill-murray 6, eastview 3
Pioneers’ four-goal start costs Lightning
Top-ranked and top-seeded Hill-Murray barred the door but Eastview kept sneaking in windows throughout the Pioneers’ 6-3 Class 2A 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 Curt LaChappelle and Zach LaValle. Those goals overshadowed a tremendous glove save by Lightning sophomore goaltender Zachary Driscoll.
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 (18-10-1) struck twice. Goals from Keith Muehlbauer and Mitchell Cerrato cut the Hill-Murray lead in half at 4-2.
Mitch Slattery gave the Pioneers (26-2-1) a 5-2 lead at 10:28 and capped a wild, five-goal second period.
Eastview made 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 the Pioneers 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 cemented its lead on Sam Becker’s goal from the blue line at 11:01 of the final period.
DAVID La VAQUE