Scouting the Pioneers (19-5-4)
Hill-Murray held the No. 1 ranking earlier this season before coach Bill Lechner’s desired tough schedule became too much. Losses to Maple Grove and Blaine and a tie against Wayzata were three of the four games Lechner jammed into a 10-day window. “We were gassed at the end of a few of those games,” Lechner said. “We had to regroup.” The Pioneers recovered, blitzing Stillwater in the section final for their 28th state tournament appearance. “Everyone knows that Hill-Murray should be in the tourney,” senior defenseman Will Sonntag said. “To get back there after not going last year is big.” Sonntag, David Quast, Derick Breezee and Joey Petronack provide a solid defensive core backed by top goalie Jake Begley.
Scouting the Spuds (22-3-3)
Talk about hot potatoes. Moorhead is 16-0-2 since its last loss and won three section games by a combined 17-0 score. Not bad for a team some believed would peak next winter. “We’re junior-heavy so some of the talk around town was about how good next year’s team would be,” coach Jon Ammerman said. Why wait? The juniors have performed well, the seniors have played key roles and a trio of talented sophomores have matured. Senior assistant captain Jacob Holtgrewe, who broke his ankle in the soccer state tournament, returned Dec. 28 against Holy Family and scored on his first shift. “This team has a lot of confidence, but the players are always working hard,” Ammerman said.
Moorhead edged the Pioneers 4-3 in overtime on Feb. 18 in the regular-season finale for both teams. The Spuds’ first lead came on Carson Kosobud’s overtime goal.
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