Hill-Murray forward Ryan Black rips this slapshot through a crowd of Wayzata defenders to score the go-ahead/game winner late in the third period. Photo by Brian Nelson
Top-ranked and No. 1 seed Hill-Murray came back to defeat No. 4 seed Wayzata for a 2-1 victory in Friday’s Class 2A state boys’ hockey tournament semifinal at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Trailing 1-0 until the second half of the third period, the Pioneers got goals from Davis Zarembinksi and Ryan Black less than three minutes apart. Wayzata fired a few late shots on goal but none found their mark.
Saturday’s title game against Edina is a rematch of the 2008 championship game, a 3-0 Hill-Murray victory.
Wayzata coach Pat O’Leary considers his team one of the state’s best in the third period but Hill-Murray proved its resiliency as well.
“What did I tell them in the third period? Nothing,” Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner said. “The seniors ran the show. These guys never quit. They believe and I’m happy for them.”
Wayzata’s Chase Haller scored on a power-play goal at 6:44 of the second period. Haller negated an earlier Trojans’ power-play goal after getting called for a goal crease violation.
Wayzata senior goaltender Aaron Dingmann set an early tone for his strong evening, stopping a puck that had been passed between three Pioneers’ players in quick succession.
He later made a save to deny a Pioneers’ 2-on-1 attempt, drawing chants of “Ding-er” from the Trojans’ student section.
“He’s the real deal but we knew if we kept getting shots we could crack him,” Black said.
Hill-Murray kept pressing and finally got on the board at 9:33 of the third period. Zarembinksi, who scored the lone goal of the Pioneers’ section final victory against White Bear Lake, shot a puck past Dingmann.
The goal was contagious. Black added one to give Hill-Murray a 2-1 lead at 12:30.
“We played well the first part of the third but we allowed them to get shots that teams don’t normally get against us,” O’Leary said.
David LaVaque, Star Tribune
Wayzata's Chase Haller scores and celebrates the Trojans only goal on the night. Photo by Brian Nelson
1. John Dugas, Hill-Murray
The Frank Brimsek finalist proved he was worthy of the honor with 26 stops, including 12 in a frantic third period. His play in the final 17 minutes backstopped the Pioneers to a two-goal comeback and a trip back to the Class 2A title game.
2. Davis Zarembinski, Hill-Murray
Talk about a clutch time to burst into the goal column. Zarembinski had none entering the playoffs, but he’s exploded and put up goals when they come at a premium. Tonight, his goal sparked the Hill-Murray rebound and took all the wind out of Wayzata’s sails.
3. Aaron Dingmann, Wayzata
Once again, Dingmann was spectacular. He started things off with a wicked leg save in the opening seconds and kept the Trojans above water for nearly three periods. However, the Pioneers pressed and cracked him for two in the third, but he still finished with 27 stops in a great showing.
Hill-Murray's Davis Zarembinski is all smiles after his third period goal tied the game. Photo by Brian Nelson
Section 6AA Playoffs
Class 2A Tournament
Section 4AA Playoffs
Class 2A Tournament