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Burnsville boys' hockey hopes big win leads over hump

By AARON PAITICH, Special to the Star Tribune, 01/12/14, 12:07AM CST


A big win over Edina has Burnsville boys’ hockey primed to exceed past season finishes.

Burnsville hockey Brock Boeser (No. 12). Photos are by Jon Laqua, MN Hockey Hub

A weight was lifted off the shoulders of the Burnsville boys’ hockey program on Jan. 2. For the first time under eighth-year coach Janne Kivihalme, the Blaze defeated Edina.

Burnsville’s victory came six days after losing to the Hornets in dramatic fashion. On Dec. 27 at the Schwan Cup, Burnsville built a three-goal lead, but Edina came back to tie the score and then win in overtime.

“The win definitely felt great especially since we blew the game against them a week before,” forward Brock Boeser said. “It was a character game for our team and we were really proud of ourselves coming back and beating them the first time under Coach Kivihalme.”

Year after year, Burnsville’s season is ended by Edina in the section finals. Boeser believes this victory could help the Blaze get over that hump this year.

Boeser, a University of Wisconsin recruit, is doing his part. He leads the Blaze in scoring with 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in just 14 games. The junior has gone pointless in just one game this season.

Not far behind is senior Cole Borchardt, with 11 goals and 13 assists. He notched one goal and two assists in the Blaze’s 3-2 victory over St. Thomas Academy. Borchardt had a hat trick against Eastview and four points against Prior Lake.

“He’s a very skilled player that sees the ice very well,” Boeser said. “He sets myself and others up. He also can score when the opportunity is there.”

Boeser and Borchardt have four power-play goals each, giving opposing teams plenty of reason to stay out of the penalty box.

The two are good friends and have grown up in the game together.

“I really like playing with him,” Boeser said of Borchardt. “We always seem to know where each other is and we work together well.”

Junior Jack Ahcan has been a spark plug from the blue line. The defenseman is above a point-per-game clip in scoring with five goals and 12 assists. Junior goaltender Dyllan Lubbesmeyer has seen the bulk of the time in net, and he’s earned it. Lubbesmeyer has registered a 1.93 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

Burnsville’s schedule has to rank as one of the toughest in the state. In addition to playing in the strong South Suburban Conference, the team has gone through a challenging nonconference gauntlet as well.

The Blaze started off the season against Hill-Murray, which is ranked second in Class 2A. In addition to facing section rival Edina twice and defeating three-time defending Class 1A champion St. Thomas Academy, Burnsville also defeated No. 3 Wayzata in 1-0 game.

Kivihalme’s team also took down Minnetonka. Coming up Jan. 23 is a game against Eden Prairie at Burnsville Ice Center.

And there’s the possibility of facing Edina again when it really counts — for a trip to state.

“It’s always a game to look forward to,” Boeser said. “The games are always a fun crowd to play in front of and the game itself is always fast-paced and physical, and it’s more than just a game for us.”

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