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Defense prevails as Hill-Murray and White Bear Lake tie

12/22/2016, 7:00am CST
By Heather Rule, SportsEngine

The Pioneers and Bears each scored a goal but the game ended in an overtime draw.


Hill-Murray forward Kyler Yeo and White Bear Lake defenseman Cade Varney battle for the puck in overtime in a 1-1 tie at Vadinas Sports Center. Photo by Rick Orndorf, SportsEngine




White Bear Lake forward Brock Larson works for position on a loose puck over Hill-Murray forward Weston Neubauer in a 1-1 tie on Thursday night. Photo by Rick Orndorf, SportsEngine



It was a tight contest between a couple of Class 2A, Section 4 rivals Thursday night at Vadnais Sports Center. Hill-Murray (5-0-2) and White Bear Lake (6-1-1) skated to a 1-1 tie. The shots-on-goal count was pretty even, too, with the Pioneers having the slight edge at 18-17.

It was quite a different game for both teams, who were used to games with lots of goal scoring so far this season. The Pioneers came in scoring 5.50 goals per game, while the Bears tallied 4.0 goals per game. Last season in this public-versus-private-school rivalry, the Pioneers beat the Bears 5-2.

It was about the type of game the No. 10-2A Pioneers coach Bill Lechner expected.

“When White Bear plays Hill, Christmas, Vadnais rink. You kind of get what you get,” he said. “You knew it was going to be maybe a one-goal game either way.”

It was an aggressive battle for puck possession right from the start. The first shot on goal didn’t come until nearly four minutes into the game.

“Well, I think there’s two similar teams that packed it in pretty good,” said White Bear Lake coach Tim Sager.

When the No. 19-2A Bears finally got the puck on net, they took full advantage. Junior Austin Carroll drove the net for a shot, bringing the Pioneers goaltender out of position in the process.

That left a wide-open net for junior Max Jennrich near the crease to jam the puck home for a 1-0 Bears lead in the first period.

Hill-Murray got even not even two minutes into the second period. This goal was truly right off the faceoff, coming from Mike Fleischhacker’s stick. It was just an offensive play from the Pioneers, according to Lechner. Fortunately it worked, and it came from their third line, too.

The Pioneers pressured in the third period, outshooting the Bears 5-0 for the first eight minutes or so of the third. The Pioneers had some chances, including with 6:15 remaining when senior Emmet Nath had the puck alone in the slot but fired it wide.

“We had some point-blanks…3, 4 times and didn’t finish,” Lechner said. “We have to do that.”

The overtime period generated a few more chances for both sides, especially in the final minute, but time ran out.

Sager said his team did a good job of keeping the Pioneers to the perimeter, played a solid defensive game and had a good forecheck.

“Our kids worked their tails off,” Sager said. “Bottom line is, we’re proud of our effort.”

Hockey fans packed the arena in 360-degree fashion to see their home schools face each other. It was a fun atmosphere for the players, Sager said, for a school rivalry that’s been around for decades.

“You can’t create this type of atmosphere with AC/DC and an empty building, and you’re trying to get them going,” Sager said.

The rivalry isn’t always so friendly, as evidenced by a couple after-whistle skirmishes in the second period resulting in coincidental minors for unsportsmanlike conduct. But for the most part it was just some solid physical hockey.


“I thought both teams battled hard,” Lechner said. “It was a physical game, but it wasn’t cheap.”

First Report

It was a tight contest between a couple of Class 2A, Section 4 rivals Thursday night at Vadnais Sports Center. Hill-Murray and White Bear Lake skated to a 1-1 tie.

It was quite a different game for both teams, who were used to games with lots of goal scoring so far this season. The Pioneers, ranked No. 10 in Class 2A by the state coaches’ poll, came in scoring 5.50 goals per game, while the Bears tallied 4.0 goals per game. Last season in this public-versus-private-school rivalry, the Pioneers beat the No. 19-2A Bears 5-2.

It was an aggressive battle for puck possession from the start. The first shot on goal didn’t come until nearly four minutes into the game. When the Bears (6-1-1) finally got the puck on net, they took full advantage.

Junior Austin Carroll drove the net for a shot, bringing the Pioneers (5-0-2) goaltender out of position in the process.

That left a wide-open net for junior Max Jennrich near the crease to jam the puck home for a 1-0 Bears lead in the first period.

Hill-Murray got even not even two minutes into the second period. This goal was truly right off the faceoff, coming from Mike Fleischhacker’s stick.

Hockey fans packed the arena in 360-degree fashion to see their home schools face each other. The rivalry isn’t always so friendly, as evidenced by a couple after-whistle skirmishes in the second period resulting in coincidental minors for unsportsmanlike conduct.


In goal for the Bears, senior Bob Parenteau made 17 saves. Senior Jake Begley made 16 saves for the Pioneers.

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