Hill-Murray's Davis Zarembinski, a product of White Bear Lake's youth system, received a predictably lukewarm greeting from Bears fans.
"Nice goal," yelled a girl in a White Bear Lake letter jacket. "I'm so mad at you."
Top-ranked Hill-Murray dispatched its playoff rival from White Bear Lake with a 1-0 victory in the Class 2A, Section 4 championship game Friday night at the Warner Coliseum at the State Fairgrounds.
Zarembinski scored the game's lone goal at 9:32 of the third period. Hill-Murray, which outshot the Bears 40-15, returns to the state tournament after losing in the championship game to Benilde-St. Margaret's last season.
Friday's result gave No. 1 Hill-Murray (25-2-1) a 7-1 advantage in the teams' last eight section-final showdowns.
No. 18 White Bear Lake (17-10-1) tightened up defensively after losing to the Pioneers 6-1 earlier this season.
"I told the players coming in, this game will come down to one goal," Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner said. "It always does."
The game was played without a goal through two periods. Hill-Murray outshot White Bear Lake 22-10 to that point.
Junior goaltender Chase Gorman matched Hill-Murray senior John Dugas save for save.
"We felt OK at that point in that they weren't getting a lot of great chances," Lechner said. "But hats off to [Bears coach] Tim Sager. He always has a plan that's capable of beating us."
Centennial 4, Champlin Park 2: Centennial senior forward Hans Gorowsky wandered around in an emotional daze after Friday's Class 2A, Section 5 championship game.
No hugs or pats on the back were necessary to bring tears as Gorowsky reached his ultimate hockey goal. Centennial held off surprising Champlin Park at the Warner Coliseum on the State Fairgrounds.
With the victory, No. 11 Centennial (22-4-2) heads to the state tournament for the first time since 2004. The Cougars won the Class 2A title that season. Gorowsky's cousin, Tom, played on that team and won Mr. Hockey.
"It's an unbelievable feeling, one I've never had before," Gorowsky said. "It's a childhood dream come true."
Younger brother Ryner Gorowsky scored two of the Cougars' three power-play goals.
Trailing 1-0 into the second period, Champlin Park (10-14-4) tied the score on Scott Lessard's power-play goal at 6:53. Centennial reclaimed its lead at 2-1 less than two minutes later on Kenny Sinna power-play goal.
Gorowsky's second goal gave the Cougars a 3-1 advantage in the third period.
"What really killed us tonight, the biggest backbreaker, was their power play," Rebels coach Pat Janostin said.
Champlin Park's Luke Dalman cut the lead to 3-2 at 9:44 of the third period. Andrew Bertrand countered with a Cougars goal to put the game out of reach.