Class AA Boys Hockey State Semifinal Andover 4, Hill-Murray 2
Posted: Friday, March 11, 2022 - 10:49 PM
Andover held off Maple Grove to capture the Northwest Suburban Conference championship a month ago. This time, the Crimson are coming at the Huskies again with another title at stake. The conference rivals and neighboring school districts will play for the Class AA championship in boys hockey after No. 5 Andover upset top-seeded Hill-Murray in a 4-2 victory in the big-school semifinals on Friday, March 11, 2022, at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul.
Junior right wing Gavyn Thoreson scored two goals and assisted on another in sending the Huskies (24-5-1) into a boys hockey state championship game for the first time. Maple Grove has also not qualified for a boys hockey state championship game. Two weeks ago, the Andover girls hockey team captured the Class AA crown.
Less than 24 hours after outlasting Moorhead for a victory in double overtime in the quarterfinals, Andover looked poised to avoid bonus hockey for a second consecutive game. When Andover last played Hill-Murray on Dec. 29, the Huskies needed overtime, too, to record a 2-1 victory. But this time, Thoreson made sure an extra session wasn’t necessary when he scored an open-net goal with 65 seconds remaining in regulation.
Hill-Murray, making its 32nd state tournament appearance, was attempting to earn a berth at winning the program’s fifth championship. The Pioneers (24-5-1) pulled to within a goal when senior left wing Dylan Godbout whistled a shot from the left circle early in the third period.
Andover stretched its lead to 3-1 with 10.1 seconds remaining in the second period. The Huskies took their biggest lead when junior right-wing Gavyn Thoreson outhustled the defense to gather in the puck just outside the blueline. He swooped in toward the left side of the goal to draw the defense to him, and at the last second, dumped a backhand to junior center Cayden Casey, who was trailing the play. Casey stared at an open goal and easily stuffed it in the cage.
Nine minutes earlier, the Huskies took their second lead at 2-1 when senior right wing Logan Gravink scored on a rebound from out front when the Pioneers were unable to clear the zone.
Hill-Murray carved into a 1-0 deficit with just more than three minutes elapsed in the second period when junior wing Caden Sampair scored from in front while being tied up by a defender.