Moorhead concluded the regular season with an overtime victory against Hill-Murray fueled by ugly, grinding goals.
The Spuds’ goals were beautiful things in the state tournament quarterfinal rematch Thursday. They scored three times in the second period, each goal more awe-inspiring than the last, for a 4-2 victory at Xcel Energy Center. Four players scored, three of them burying pucks high in the Pioneers’ net.
Junior forward Jack Stetz kept Moorhead out of reach on a shorthanded goal scored with just 32 seconds left in the second period. As he glided toward the net with teammate Jake Holtgrewe in position to take a pass, Stetz wisely used the time and space.
“When I got the puck, the defender was kind of cheating over to Jake and I was thinking, ‘OK, I’m going to shoot this but now where am I going to shoot it?’ ” Stetz said. “The goalie was kind of cheating to his blocker side and I gave it a shot top shelf.”
The 4-2 lead went unchanged due in large part to the psychological effect the goal had on both teams.
“That was a tough moment, really tough,” Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner said. “Before that we had three or four great chances, we started to get the fever and then we have a breakdown.”
As the Pioneers (19-6-4) slumped, No. 3 seed Moorhead (23-3-3) soared.
“That goal really gave us the big momentum push to win the game,” Holtgrewe said.
DAVID LA VAQUE
Moorhead used sharp shooting to dispatch Hill-Murray in a 4-2 victory, Four different players scored and three buried pucks high in the Pioneers’ net Thursday as the Spuds won the second Class 2A state tournament quarterfinal at Xcel Energy Center.
Neutral zone turnovers and top-shelf goals marked the second period.
A Hill-Murray counterattack led to a Joseph Quast goal and 1-1 tie. The goal was the first allowed by Moorhead goaltender Lance Leonard in 194 minutes and 45 seconds of play. The last one had been scored by Hill-Murray (19-6-4) in the regular season finale, which Moorhead won 4-3 in overtime. Leonard blanked all three section opponents.
No. 3 seed Moorhead (23-3-3) got a lift on goals from Carter Randklev and Matt Herbranson scored just 38 seconds apart. Both players feasted on Hill-Murray miscues and buried their chances high to goalie Jake Begley’s stick side.
Trailing 3-1, Hill-Murray cut into the Spuds lead with Derick Breezee’s power-play goal. Then Jack Stetz, holding the puck on a 2-on-1 rush, fired it home top shelf for a shorthanded goal with 32 seconds left in the second period.
Moorhead’s Jacob Holtgrewe opened the scoring at 2:44 of the first period.
Check back later for more on the game.