Boys Hockey: Hill-Murray rebounds from first period setback to knock off Burnsville in season opener

Hill-Murray 5 - Burnsville 3
The Hill-Murray boys hockey forces opened the 2013-14 season with a hard-fought victory against the Burnsville Blaze at the Burnsville Ice Center Thursday, Nov. 21.

Though owning an 11-7 shots-on-goal advantage, the Pioneers were on the short end of a 2-1 score after the first period.

The players must have listened intently to whatever head coach Bill Lechner told them during the intermission as they came out of the locker room with new determination and had knotted the score at 2-2 by the end of the second period.

Then the Pioneers won going away with three goals in the third to notch a 5-3 final before departing back to Maplewood.

The opening goal came with the Pioneers skating with a man advantage. Mitch Slattery slid the puck back to senior captain Josh French who sent a laser shot into the Burnsville twines at 4:21 of the period.

The Blaze answered with a pair of late first-period tallies. The 1-1 tying tally came at 12:57 and the 2-1 goal came with just 14 seconds remaining before the horn to end the session.

With the score at 3-1, the Pioneers came out flying to begin period two.

It didn’t take long before the leveling goal came. With a Burnsville player in the penalty box, Joey Anderson picked off an errant Burnsville pass. His up-ice feed hit Tyler Funk in full stride. The senior forward captain went in and deked his way to an opening with a short-handed shot that leveled the score 2-2 at 3:05.

The big board didn’t change until the teams came out of the locker room to face off for the third period.

Early in the third stanza, assists from Davis Zarembinski and Dustin Krueger found the blade of Mikey Anderson.

The eighth-grade defenseman in turn fired a puck that found its way between the pipes at 3:04 for his first goal in his varsity experience.

Just over three minutes later the Blaze answered with a 3-3 goal at 7:24 of the third session.

Two minutes later, Zach Mills gained control and put an unassisted effort behind the Blaze goalie for what turned out to be the game-winner at 9:26.

As play moved into the waning seconds, Burnsville pulled its goalie in favor of a sixth attacker.

The ploy backfired when Funk fed the puck to Mills and the junior sharpshooter found the mark into an empty net at 16:12 of the third stanza. The second goal by Mills provided the finishing touches on the Hill-Murray win.

Next up the Pioneers will again take to the road to play Lakeville South Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. at Hesse Arena.

Hill-Murray will play its home opener Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. when they host Benilde-St. Margaret’s at Aldrich Arena.

Wally Wakefield can be reached at wwakefield@lillienews.com.

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