North/Tartan and Hill-Murray girls hockey, running neck-and-neck in Metro East

The Hill-Murray and North/Tartan girls hockey teams met in an important Metro East Conference tilt on Jan. 15. The two teams entered the game tied atop the league standings.

Facing a race for the conference title hasn't been something the Pioneers have had to worry about in recent seasons but that appears to be different this year. Hill-Murray has lost only one conference game in the past four seasons.

The Pioneers, this season, were 6-0 in the Metro East through Jan. 14. So was North/Tartan. The Jan. 15 showdown took place past the deadline for this edition of the Review.

Dethroning the Pioneers won't be easy. In addition to having had a stranglehold on the conference championship for a number of years, Hill-Murray is also the two-time defending Class AA state champion. 

The Pioneers entered the game against North/Tartan without an official loss. In 18 games, Hill-Murray's only non-victory was a 2-2 tie against Blake in the second round of the Kaposia Classic holiday tournament.

Blake ended up winning the shootout to advance to the championship final while Hill-Murray went on to defeat South St. Paul 5-0 in the third-place game.

Since the tie, Hill-Murray had won five in a row, including consecutive shutouts over Hastings, Chaska/Chanhassen and Mahtomedi.

North/Tartan hasn't been quite as dominating but it is still working on a strong season. North/Tartan has lost only twice since Thanksgiving and both were non-conference contests.

Like Hill-Murray, North/Tartan entered the Jan. 15 game fresh off three straight shutouts. They beat Henry Sibley 1-0 in overtime on Jan. 5, edged Mahtomedi 1-0 on Jan. 8 and beat South St. Paul 2-0 on Jan. 12.

While the winner of last Friday's game took over sole possession of first place in the Metro East, the loser can find solace in the fact that both teams will go at it one more time this season. They meet again on Jan. 26 at Tartan Arena. 

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

Metro East Conference girls hockey standings (Through Jan. 14)
  Conf. Overall Points
Hill-Murray 6-0 17-0-1 12
North/Tartan 6-0 14-5 12
Hastings 4-1 12-5-2 8
South St. Paul 2-4 7-11-1 4
Mahtomedi 2-6 10-11 4
Simley 1-5 4-14 2
Henry Sibley 0-5 4-16 0



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