Unlike a season ago, all four seeded teams in class AA advanced to the semi-finals of the state hockey tournament. Hill-Murray and Edina advanced winning big, Duluth East put forth a gritty effort in their victory, but it was Wayzata and Centennial that stole the show.
Duluth East 1 Moorhead 0
Two years ago, Greyhounds coach Mike Randolph stood in the Eden Prairie locker room congratulating the Eagles on winning a state championship. It was one of the classiest, yet gut wrenching things the veteran coach has ever done on or off the ice. Last year, his Hounds were the top seed in the tournament and the favorite to win the entire thing. They lost in the quarterfinals and played the rest of their season at Mariucci. This season, they are back for another run and have the look of a championship defensive team.
The Hounds picked up a goal by junior Jack Kolar scored just 1:13 into the second period after he took a pass from Alex Toscano and rifled a wrist shot past Spuds' goaltender Jacob Dittmer. That would be all they would get and it proved that it was all they need.
Typically, the Hounds have been an offensive scoring machine, but this season Randolph has his team playing a hard nosed defensive brand of hockey that has the potential of putting together three wins.
Edina 9 Lakeville North 3
If there was any concern about how the Hornets were playing down the stretch and that Lakeville North could be a dreaded trap game, Curt Giles and his Hornets quickly squashed those thoughts.
The Hornets scored five goals in the second period including junior Connor Hurley's completion of a hat trick with goals just 27 seconds of each other propelled Edina to a runaway win.
It was Edina's top line that did the damage. Hurley, senior wing Andy Jordahl and Dylan Malmquist dominated the game as Malmquist finished with two goals and an assist.
Hill-Murray 6 Eastview 3
Eastview's upset of Eagan last week left most wondering 'who are these guys'. Top ranked and the top seed in the tournament Hill-Murray scored two first period goals from CJ LaChappelle and Zach LaValle, setting the tone for the victory.
The Pioneers, who lost in last years championship game to Benilde-St. Margaret's added another two goals to take a commanding lead before the Lightning began to battle back. Keith Muehlbauer and Mitchell Cerrato scored to cut the lead in half, but Mitch Slattery quickly regained momentum for Hill-Murray with a goal to push the lead back to three goals.
Wayzata 2 Centennial 1 OT
At one point in the regular season, the Wayata Trojans vaulted themselves to the top spot in the AA polls. Just as quickly as they ascended, they fell off. By most accounts, they were a year away from state tournament conversation, but they proved everyone wrong marching through the toughest section in the state and into the tournament.
With the High School League seeding the top five seeds, the last quarterfinal game was pegged as the best of the bunch, and it lived up to the hype.
After skating to a scoreless first period, and playing about as even two teams could, Centennial's Adam Anderson scored just 53 seconds into the second period. Goalies Patrick Munson of Centennial and Aaron Dingman of Wayzata were the stories as they shut the door, keeping the score 1-0. Late in the second, Dingman made the save of the game when the puck snuck behind him and neared the goal stripe. The senior quickly smothered the puck before completely crossing the line preserving the 1-0 lead.
The Trojans continued to battle and with 1:15 left in the game, they tied the game up when Jalen Wahl finally solved the puzzle that was Munson. Wayzata carried the momentum into overtime and Chase Heising scored halfway through the first overtime propelling the Trojans into the semi-finals.