Class AA Boys Hockey State Quarterfinal Hill-Murray 3, Lakeville South 2
Posted: Thursday, March 10, 2022 - 8:22 PM
Top-seeded Hill-Murray took the first step at what it hopes will be the fifth championship in program history with a 3-2 victory over Lakeville South in the Class AA quarterfinals on Thursday, March 10, 2022, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Senior center Gianni Hurley scored what proved to be the winner late in the second period and sophomore goalie Jack Erickson protected the late lead with brilliant saves in powering the Pioneers (24-4-1) to the big-school semifinals where they will await the winner of the late quarterfinal between No. 5 Andover and No. 4 Moorhead. Hill-Murray’s last championship was the Class AA crown in 2020.
Lakeville South (25-4-0) led early and made a late move on the Pioneers, but couldn’t solve Erickson.
The Cougars closed the gap to a single-goal deficit early in the third period on a goal from junior defenseman Tyler Lafferty on a short-range shot. Lakeville South pulled junior goalie Jack Hochspring with 1:32 remaining in regulation time, but was unable to generate any quality scoring chances in the closing moments.
Hurley gave Hill-Murray, making the 32nd state tournament appearance in program history, a 3-1 advantage on a goal generated off a turnover. He gained control of the puck, wheeled and whistled a wrist shot into the right side of the goal.
It took Hill-Murray less than three minutes to find the equalizing goal to counter the Lakeville South tally that stunned them in the beginning moments. Senior defenseman Alex Begley had an even-strength goal when he scored at a very sharp angle from the left circle. The shot sailed upward and found a narrow opening over the left shoulder of junior goalie Jack Hochsprung. The Pioneers took their first lead less than three minutes later on a power-play goal from the point by senior defenseman Leo Gruba.
Lakeville South opened with a flurry.
Before fans could even settle in from the opening faceoff, the Cougars scored on a wicked wrist shot by junior forward Tanner Ludtke just 10 seconds into the game. If you are wondering if that quick goal was the fastest in state tournament history, it was just short. The fastest goal scored in state tournament history was by St. Cloud Cathedral’s Josh Wolke in 1993 when the Crusaders lost 4-1 to Henry Sibley in the Tier II third-place game.