Pioneers open hockey season with expectations, victory

It took a while for the Hill-Murray boys hockey team to get its offense untracked in the season opener last week, but a big third period led to a victory over Burnsville. The Pioneers scored all of their goals in the final period of the 4-1 victory on Nov. 29.

Hill-Murray also beat the Burnsville Blaze in the season opener last year and went on to have what head coach Bill Lechner dubbed an “underachieving” season. With 14 returning letterwinners, the Pioneers are out to avoid a repeat.

Among those returning players is a pair of senior goaltenders. Jake Begley played about three quarters of the minutes last season and John Eger had the rest. Begley had a goal-against average just under two and a save percentage of .926. 

Hill-Murray’s top three scorers from last season are no longer with the team. Brock Bremer, a senior, is the Pioneers’ top returning point-getter after scoring seven goals and dishing out 17 assists last season.

Also back are two other double-digit point scorers, Ben Helgeson (9-10-19) and Kyler Yeo (2-9-11). 

Through two periods against Burnsville last week, Hill-Murray had 14 shots on goal but nothing to show for it. In the third period, the Pioneers unleashed a dozen shots on Blaze netminder Josh Kenney and four of them found the back of the net.

Anthony Betti got the goal barrage started with a marker at 7:10 of the period. Yeo then started a three-goals-in-less-than-two-minutes streak with a score at 10:56. Emmet Nath added Hill-Murray’s third goal of the game at 11:14 and Bremer closed out the scoring at 12:40.

Yeo also added an assist for a two-point game and Helgeson recorded two points on two helpers. Also getting assists were David Quast and Troy Tischler. 

A year ago, Hill-Murray went 15-8-2 in the regular season before advancing to the section final. The Pioneers fell short of advancing to the state tournament as Stillwater beat them 1-0 in overtime.

Hill-Murray hosted Eastview on Dec. 3, past the deadline for this edition of the Review.

On the schedule this week for the Pioneers is a trip to face Benilde-St. Margaret’s on Dec. 8 and a home game against Mahtomedi on Dec. 10 to open the Metro East Conference schedule.

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

2016-17 Hill-Murray boys hockey schedule

Nov. 29 vs. Burnsville 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 3 vs. Eastview 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 8 at Benilde-St. Margaret’s 7 p.m.

Dec. 10 vs. Mahtomedi 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 15 at Tartan 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 17 vs. North 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 22 at White Bear Lake 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 29 at Schwan Cup TBA

Dec. 30 at Schwan Cup TBA

Dec. 31 at Schwan Cup TBA

Jan. 5 vs. St. Thomas Academy 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 7 at Mahtomedi 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 12 vs. Hastings 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 14 vs. Tartan 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 17 at Henry Sibley 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 21 at Edina 7 p.m.

Jan. 24 vs. Elk River 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 26 vs. Maple Grove 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 28 vs. Simley 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 31 at Wayzata 7 p.m.

Feb. 4 at Blaine 7 p.m.

Feb. 9 vs. South St. Paul 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 11 at St. Thomas Academy 4 p.m.

Feb. 15 vs. Marshall 7 p.m.

Feb. 18 at Moorhead 4 p.m.

 

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