White Bear Lake's Max Jennrich (6), Jake Klein (11) and Austin Carroll (15) celebrate Jennrich's empty-net goal late in the third period Saturday night. The Bears defeated Hill-Murray 4-2. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
White Bear Lake senior forward Max Jennrich remembers well the last time the Bears defeated rival Hill-Murray.
He was there, sitting in the stands at the State Fair Coliseum watching White Bear Lake etch out a double-overtime section playoff victory that sent the Bears to their last state tournament appearance.
Jennrich was in fifth grade, and that was 2011.
“I was with my dad, and I remember it was packed,” he after Saturday's game. “And I remember it was crazy.”
Jennrich scored two goals Saturday night at Aldrich Arena as the Bears, unbeaten (7-0-1) and ranked No. 7 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll, wrote their own chapter in the storied east metro rivalry by fighting from behind to grind out a 4-2 victory over Hill-Murray.
The Bears found themselves trailing by a goal after the first period, despite outshooting their hosts 11-2 for the frame. In the second, White Bear Lake strung together three scores to seize control of the game for good.
Getting past Hill-Murray (4-3-2) is about as fine as a Christmas gift the Bears could give longtime head coach Tim Sager, who hadn’t had a team beat the Pioneers during the regular season in 13 years.
“It’s a mental thing on top of the physical,” he said. “Tonight, we were the better team -- the way we moved our feet, and the way our defensemen controlled play.”
White Bear Lake outworked and wore down No. 19-2A Hill-Murray as the game went along and things grew increasingly physical.
Working the puck low to high was the game plan for the Bears, and it became more effective in the pivotal second period, and then carried it into the third.
“Coming in, we knew we would be successful if we played our kind of game,” Jennrich said. “We wanted to get low and work it up to our points to try to spread them out. It worked.”
Jennrich scored the game-winning goal with 2:14 remaining in the second, then added an empty-netter in the final minute of the third period to push his team-leading season total to 10 goals and 15 points.
The Bears will close down the 2017 calendar with a trip to Bloomington Jefferson on Dec. 28, before opening up the New Year against top-ranked Edina on Jan. 4. For now, White Bear Lake will savor this one, and then get back to work.
“It’s a good win for our team,” Jennrich said. “But then again, this is just another December win, and we need to keep moving forward. We need to make sure that we can build off of this one.”
Bears' goalie Stephen Uremovich stops a scoring chance under heavy pressure from Hill-Murray forward Joseph Quast during the third period. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
Senior captain Max Jennrich scored two goals to help lift White Bear Lake to a 4-2 victory over Hill-Murray at Aldrich Arena Saturday night.
It was the first time since March 2011 that White Bear Lake has gotten the better of its east metro rival, snapping a streak of seven straight losses to the Pioneers.
The Bears, ranked No. 7 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll, had to fight from behind to pull off the win, pushing back from two different scoring deficits to finish strong.
No. 19-2A Hill-Murray’s Charlie Strobel opened the scoring late in the first period with a power-play goal, and the teams swapped scores until late in the third, when Jennrich tallied his first goal with 2:14 left. Jennrich added another, an empty-netter with 42 seconds remaining, sealing the win for the Bears (7-0-2, 5-0-1)
Stephen Uremovich earned the win in net for the Bears, stopping 14 of 16 shots. At the other end, Wyatt Vint made 18 saves for Hill-Murray (4-3-2, 3-1-1).
Hill-Murray junior captain Ben Helgeson finished with two assists in the Pioneers' 4-2 loss to White Bear Lake Saturday night. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
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