Burnsville goalie Chris Mallon made 36 saves in the Blaze's 2-1 victory against Prior Lake in the Section 2AA semifinals at Braemar Arena. Photo by Adam Crane
Blaze goalie Chris Mallon stops a shot by Prior Lake's Dylan Zins (27) in Burnsville's 2-1 victory in the Section 2AA semifinals. Photo by Adam Crane
Burnsville goalie Chris Mallon might have the perfect temperament to play one of the most scrutinized, pressure-filled positions in all of sports.
It's a position that is looked at first if things go wrong. Praise comes quickly when a team is going in the right direction.
Mallon has the Blaze going to Mariucci Arena for the Section 2AA finals against top seed Edina.
No. 3-seeded Burnsville defeated No. 2-seeded Prior Lake 2-1 in the Section 2AA semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Braemar Arena.
Mallon made 36 saves and the lone goal he allowed came with 40 seconds left in the third.
"He was great tonight," Blaze junior forward Tyler Sheehy said. "Just cool calm and collected."
The Lakers threw plenty of rubber and bodies at Mallon, but he did not flinch.
He challenged shots when there was traffic in front of him, held onto the initial shot and if there was a rebound, he was able to pounce on it quickly to either get a whistle or swat it away from the net.
"He is a goalie that doesn't get rattled," Blaze coach Janne Kivihalme said. "Chris is a calm guy on and off the ice. What you see is what you get from him."
In the two previous meetings this season Burnsville was unable to solve Lakers goalie Jordan Moran, who made a total of 70 saves in Prior Lake's 2-0 and 4-0 wins.
"He's a great goalie himself, and we wanted to get a few by him," Sheehy said. "He shut us out in the first two, and we didn't want that to happen again."
Mallon wanted no part of making the game a one-on-one duel Moran.
Knowing that Moran had shut out the Blaze twice already this season, Mallon stuck to his game.
"My team needed me to just stop shots," he said. "I can't worry about what the other guy is doing over there. My teammates knew that they would probably need to score a few for me because of how he (Moran) has played us, and that was big."
The South Suburban rivals played, as expected, a tight, physical matchup.
Scoring opportunities were limited while big hits were dished out regularly.
Sheehy broke the scoreless tie when he finished off a two-on-one with Brock Boeser in the second period.
Boeser slid a perfect pass over to Sheehy who buried the shot in the back of the net with ease.
"That was just a perfect play from Brock," Sheehy said.
Dylan Wegel gave the Blaze a 2-0 lead in the third when he chipped a shot by Moran, who had to navigate through plenty of bodies in front of him.
The Lakers finally got on the board when Joey Kleven ripped a wrist shot that got through Mallon.
"Goalies were tough today," Lakers coach Joe Pankratz said. "You had to really earn your goals tonight."
The Blaze will be in the Section 2AA finals for the third consecutive season against the Hornets. Burnsville lost the past two section finals games to Edina.
"We saw them earlier this year, so hopefully we can turn the tables on them," Sheehy said.
Burnsville's Cole Borchardt (20) shows how physical conference rivals can get in the postseason. Photo by Adam Crane
Chris Mallon made 36 saves in No. 3-seeded Burnville's 2-1 victory against No. 2-seed Prior Lake in the Section 2AA semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Braemar Ice Arena.
Tyler Sheehy scored in the second period for the Blaze to open the scoring, taking a perfect pass from Brock Boeser on a two-on-one to beat Lakers' goalie Jordan Moran.
Mallon was stellar in the in the first two periods making 14 saves in each period.
Blaze forward Dylan Weigel scored 5 minutes, 48 seconds into the third period to make the score 2-0.
Prior Lake pulled goalie Jordan Moran in favor of an extra skater in the closing minutes and the strategy worked as Joey Kleven ripped a wrist shot that beat Mallon with 40 seconds left in the third.
Moran finished with 29 saves.
Burnsville advances to the Section 2AA finals to play No. 1-seeded Edina on Wednesday, March 6 at Mariucci Arena.
1. Chris Mallon, Burnsville
Mallon made 36 saves look about as easy as possible. The senior was cool and collected in his performance where he controlled rebounds to near perfection and made the big saves when needed.
2. Jordan Moran, Prior Lake
Moran had not allowed a goal to the Blaze in two previous meetings this season, and he made Burnsville earn both of its goals.
3. Tyler Sheehy, Burnsville
The junior forward was the first Blaze player to solve the puzzle that was Moran this season. Prior Lake shut out Burnsville twice this season, but Sheehy ended the drough when buried a goal on a two-on-one. He was the catalyst behind most of the Blaze's scoring chances.