Hill-Murray senior Kyler Yeo moves the puck up ice Tuesday against visiting Burnsville. Yeo had a goal and an assist in the 4-1 victory. Photo by Korey McDermott, SportsEngine
Ben Helgeson (14) of Hill-Murray had two assists to help his team defeat Burnsville Nov. 29 at Aldrich Arena. Photo by Korey McDermott, SportsEngine
With his team collectively frustrated and handcuffed for the better part of two periods, Hill-Murray senior captain Kyler Yeo didn’t want to try to do too much when his next opportunity came along.
Fed in the slot with a centering pass that hit his tape midway through the third period, Yeo wanted to keep it simple.
“Coach (Bill Lechner) always talks about shooting the puck, right when you can,” Yeo said. “I knew if I didn’t score on that one, I was going to hear about it when I got back to the bench. It was a great play by my linemates, and I was able to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Yeo’s wrist shot sailed over the glove of Burnsville goalie Josh Kenney with 6:04 remaining, sparking a three-goal flurry as the Pioneers rallied past Burnsville 4-1 Tuesday night at Aldrich Arena.
After trailing virtually the entire way, the score helped flip a switch to ignite a Hill-Murray squad that was spinning its wheels early. From there, Emmet Nath and Brock Bremer both scored goals, padding the lead and sending the Pioneers on to the win.
“We didn’t get the start we wanted, but (goalie Jake Begley) kept us in it early,” Yeo said. “And once we finally popped one goal in, they kept coming.”
The first game of the season brought the usual growing pains and uncertainty, and it took two periods before the Pioneers were able to successfully play their brand of hockey.
“I think (early on) our guys were trying to do too much and be cute with the puck,” Lechner said. “Some of our guys were trying to be too fancy instead of just putting the puck low on net.”
Burnsville struck first when senior forward Ryan Pearson took advantage of a Hill-Murray miscue in its own zone, and scored on a two-on-one, as he slipped the puck under the pads of Begley 1:11 into the game to push the Blaze out front. Burnsville kept the lead until Hill-Murray’s Anthony Betti broke the shutout with 9:50 remaining to tie things up.
In the second period, Hill-Murray increased the pressure and gained a 14-10 edge in shots by the end of the frame, but the Pioneers were left feeling snakebitten.
Perhaps it was a case of individuals trying to do too much.
“Sometimes you think, if it’s not working, then you need to change things, or figure something else out,” Lechner said. “But you just need to believe that it will work, you just need to knock the door down.”
In the third period, Hill-Murray, ranked No. 14-2A by the Let’s Play Hockey coaches’ poll, went to work and turned things around. Lechner made line adjustments, consolidating veteran players onto common lines, and it provided the spark the team needed.
“Sometimes it backfires, but it happened to work, and then it grew contagious,” Lechner said. “Everything flowed from there.”
Yeo finished with two points on the night, and sophomore center Ben Helgeson added two assists.
It proved to be a good first step for the Pioneers, who will pocket this victory and move forward.
“Obviously it’s the first game, but we don’t play again until Saturday,” Yeo said. “We’ve got three practices between then, and starting 1-0 instead of 0-1 makes things much easier.”
Trailing for most of the game, Hill-Murray erupted to score three goals in a span of less than two minutes late in the third period to sew up their season-opener with a 4-1 victory over Burnsville at Aldrich Arena on Tuesday night.
Kyler Yeo, Emmet Nath and Brock Bremer all scored goals in the flurry to lead the Pioneers’ resurgence in what had previously been an uphill fight.
The Blaze struck first when senior forward Ryan Pearson took a centering pass from Daniel Sandvig and slipped the puck under the pads of Pioneers goaltender Jake Begley 1:11 into the game.
Burnsville kept the lead until Hill-Murray’s Anthony Betti broke the shutout with 9:50 remaining.
From there, Hill-Murray, ranked No. 14-2A by the Let’s Play Hockey coaches’ poll, went to work and eventually turned things around.
Begley finished with 17 saves for Hill-Murray while Burnsville senior goalie Josh Kenney stopped 22 shots.
Hill-Murray goalie Jake Begley (1) turned away 17 of 18 Blaze shots in the 4-1 victory Tuesday night. Photo by Korey McDermott, SportsEngine
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