Hill-Murray senior Jake Begley makes a glove save en route to a 2-1 victory over Edina Saturday night. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Goalies are not to be bothered, especially on game days. This is one of hockey’s golden rules, as basic as not walking your skates on cement or eating potato chips on the bench.
Hill-Murray’s Jake Begley says he isn’t overly particular about how he is treated. Talk to him, don’t talk to him, whatever. But as game time approaches the senior goaltender’s focus can become so laser sharp that sometimes his teammates worry about his well-being.
Such was the case on Saturday night, with the Pioneers (12-1-3, 7-0-1), ranked No. 4 in the latest state Class 2A coaches’ poll, deep into preparations for their showdown with the No. 2 Hornets (11-5-1, 1-2) at Braemar Ice Arena in Edina.
“(Anthony) Hurley was joking around before the game, saying, ‘Could someone see if Begley is alive right now?’ Because he looked like he was laying on the floor dead,” Pioneers senior Kyler Yeo said. “His pregame preparation is pretty special.”
Begley’s in-game performance was pretty special, too. He made 30 saves, including several on a barrage of shots in the closing minutes, to help the Pioneers eke out a 2-1 upset win over the hard-charging Hornets in the matchup of two of the state’s most storied programs.
Hill-Murray was outshot 31-14 by Edina, a stat that didn’t overly concern Pioneers coach Bill Lechner, knowing he has one of the state’s premier goaltenders working between the pipes.
“I really believe he likes our team to get outshot, because he likes pucks,” Lechner said about Begley. “He loves to compete, and he is a poor sport in a professional way. I think that helps him a lot, because he can’t stand losing.”
The 6-foot Begley leads the state with a 1.15 goals-against average and .948 save percentage. The three-year varsity regular is virtually a lock to be named a finalist for the Frank Brimsek Award that is given annually to the state’s top senior goaltender. He’s the lone marquee talent on a skilled but mostly workmanlike Hill-Murray team that has so far exceeded all preseason expectations after the Pioneers missed last year’s state tournament and lost several big-name stars.
“This group of guys, I don’t know if we have that just wow guy,” Lechner said. “But we have a team, we have a whole bunch of guys who work really hard, and a lot of them have great hands and feet.”
Standout goaltender and deep corps of skilled and selfless, if not star, players. Sounds like just the sort of Hill-Murray team that has made deep playoff runs in years past. Lechner isn’t going to get ahead of himself, but there was a lot of cheering and clapping going on in the Pioneers’ locker room after the game. Loud enough to be heard through Braemar’s cement block walls and steel doors.
“Every win is huge, and we love cheering for everyone of them,” said Yeo, the son of former Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo. “But, personally, I’m a senior and I’ve been playing on the varsity for three years and one on JV, and I’ve never beat Edina. So this one was real special.”
Hill-Murray senior Emmet Nath breaks away from an Edina defender for a scoring chance. Hill-Murray defeated Edina 2-1 in a matchup of top 10 Class 2A teams. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Senior goaltender Jake Begley made 30 saves, and senior Anthony Hurley and junior Joey Petronack scored to boost Hill-Murray to a 2-1 victory over Edina on Saturday at Braemar Ice Arena in Edina.
Begley, a strong candidate for the Frank Brimsek Award that goes annually to the state’s top senior goaltender, made seven saves in the third period including several in the closing minutes as Edina applied heavy pressure in the Pioneers end.
Hurley scored in the first period and Petronack in the second as the Pioneers (12-1-3, 7-0-1), ranked No. 4 in Class 2A in the latest state coaches’ poll, made the most of their scoring chances. They entered the third period with the 2-0 lead despite being outshot 22-10.
Evan Shoemaker scored 5:09 into the third period for Edina (11-5-1, 1-2), and the No. 2-2A Hornets controlled play for most of the rest of the game.
Edina, which couldn’t convert on two third-period power plays, outshot the Pioneers 31-14. Hill-Murray had just two shots in the third period.
Several of Edina's best chances in the third came courtesy of senior forward Bram Scheerer, who had two point-blank shots stopped by Begley and just missed on a couple more opportunities.
Edina's Evan Shoemaker battles Hill Murray's Anthony Hurley for the faceoff win. Both Shoemaker and Hurley scored for their respective teams as the Pioneers defeated the Hornets in Edina. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Spotlight Game Coverage