Slow start dooms Mounds View boys hockey

The Mounds View High School boys hockey team played even with perennial power Hill-Murray for two of the three periods in the Section 4AA semifinals last week. The problem was that the Pioneers completely owned the first period, and that was enough.

Hill-Murray scored three times, including two shorthanded tallies, in the decisive first period on Feb. 24 at Aldrich Arena. The Pioneers used those three goals as a springboard to a 5-2 victory and yet another trip to the section finals.

Hill-Murray went on to beat Stillwater 4-0 in the section final and plays in the Class AA state tournament starting on Thursday.

Two goals 13 seconds apart while Mounds View was on the power play put the Mustangs in an early hole. Hill-Murray added a third goal with about four minutes left in the first period and finished the frame with a 16-4 shots-on-goal advantage.

Mounds View got on the board early in the second period on a goal by Austin Ramirez, who was assisted by Alex Plasencia and Evan Mattson. 

The Mustangs weren't able to capitalize on any momentum, however, as Hill-Murray scored twice later in the second.

Mounds View scored the only goal of the third period when Matt Gretsch lit the lamp with five minutes remaining. John Reim and Dan DeWitt added the assists.

Mounds View advanced to the semifinals via its 3-2, double-overtime victory over Roseville in the quarterfinals. It was the Mustangs' first post-season victory since beating Tartan 3-2 in the 2010 section quarterfinals.

The Mustangs finished the season with a record of 13-11-3. 

--Brian Meyers

Section 4AA boys hockey playoffs

Game 1 – Hill-Murray 5, North St. Paul 0
Game 2 – White Bear Lake 6, Irondale 0
Game 3 – Stillwater 3, Tartan 2, OT
Game 4 – Mounds View 3, Roseville 2, 2OT
Game 5 – Hill-Murray 5, Mounds View 2
Game 6 – Stillwater 3, White Bear Lake 2, 2OT
Championship game
Game 7 – Hill-Murray 4, Stillwater 0


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