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Wagner returns in style for Burnsville

By Shane Koob, Sport Ngin, 01/25/14, 1:30PM CST


No. 5-ranked Blaze outlast Eastview in OT thanks in part to senior Zane Wagner's clutch goal

Burnsville players and fans celebrate a victory over Eastview in overtime. Photo by Katherine Matthews

Burnsville senior Zane Wagner knows a thing or two about luck. 

After a hard hit early in the season caused life-threatening internal bleeding, Wagner is finally back on the ice, and he knocked in his first goal of the year with 1:07 remaining in the third period Saturday night as the Blaze beat Eastview 3-2 in overtime.

"It was great, and I'm so excited right now," Wagner said. "I'm finally starting to find the stride in my game and, yeah, I'm feeling good." 

Senior Dylan Weigel scored a short-handed goal only 1 minute, 10 seconds into the overtime period for the fifth-ranked Blaze, who now stand in second place with 18 points in the South Suburban Conference.

Eastview junior goalie Zach Driscoll was a wall for most the game, stopping 45 shots. Weigel knew it'd be a tough situation facing one of the best goaltenders in Minnesota.

"Everyone knows that Zach Driscoll is the top goalie in the state," Weigel said. "We just knew we had to get bodies in front of him and take away his eyes and just pressure him. We got in front of the net and put some rebounds home."

Eastview's defense was stout from the opening puck drop, but the Lightning gave up a goal late in the first period to senior Will Missling. The second period didn't have any scoring but featured physical, hard-hitting play that lasted throughout the rest of the game.

Burnsville goalie Dyllan Lubbesmeyer finished with 18 saves and made some nice stops during the scoreless stretch to give his team a chance. Blaze coach Janne Kivihalme knew good things were on the way if his squad stuck to the game plan. 

"I thought we were having good opportunities throughout the course of the game to put the puck in the net, we just weren't able to get it through," Kivihalme said. "(In overtime) we end up getting lucky with the penalty kill, but the focus was to keep plugging away."

After giving up a late goal to Eden Prairie on Thursday night in a game that ended in a 3-3 tie, this was a special victory for the Blaze considering Wagner was the one to send the game to overtime on his first goal of the season.

"Just for (Wagner) to get a goal like that is big for him and the team," Weigel said. "He's that kind of gritty player who gets in front of the net, and he was able to put one away to get us to overtime, and we finished it."

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