Burnsville senior defenseman Sean Madigan suffered an injury in the second period and did not return in the third. Photo by Helen Nelson
The game started to unravel for Burnsville (8-3-2) late in the second period at precisely the moment Madigan, a slick-skating, puck-moving senior, blocked a shot in the midsection while killing and Apple Valley power play. Despite being in obvious pain, Madigan stayed on the ice and continued his shift until the puck finally left the zone.
“He got hit in the privates,” Kivihalme said about Madigan’s injury. “That can be dangerous.”
Burnsville escaped the second period with its 3-0 lead intact, but Apple Valley (9-4-0) spent the break scheming its comeback. Eagles coach Jerry Hayes reminded his players about a Blaze loss to Holy Angels during the holiday break. Burnsville led 5-2 entering the third period before losing 6-5.
“We said, ‘Hey, let’s get the first one,' ” Hayes said about the third-period plan. “And then they get the first one. So, what do I know?”
Freshman defenseman Teemu Kivihalme, Janne’s son, scored less than a minute into the third to put Burnsville ahead 4-0.
Then it was Smith, a defenseman who had scored once all season, taking over the closing minutes. He scored his three goals in a span of 5:30. A senior who plays a stay-at-home style on team that features scoring standouts A.J. Michaelson and Hudson Fasching, Smith wouldn’t be the first – or second or third – choice when predicting who might notch a hat trick.
“Not Smitty,” said Dockry, who scored what proved to be the winner with 4:27 left. “But his shots were going in. He was getting the bounces.”
Apple Valley pulled within one with 16 seconds left on a goal by Tate Erickson.
“We need to come with more intensity,” Smith said. “It is always good to win the third period. Again, it gets to the point where that’s not good enough.”
The Eagles, who could have taken the lead in the South Suburban Conference with a victory, instead dropped to fourth place. Burnsville sits alone in first place after the win.