State Hockey: Top seed Minnetonka rallies late, beats Hill-Murray in OT
In the day’s second overtime thriller, Minnetonka (27-2) battled back from a 3-2 deficit with less than two minutes to play in regulation to gain a 4-3 victory over Hill-Murray (14-14-1) at the 2023 MSHSL Class AA Boys Hockey Championship on Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
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Minnetonka broke into the scoring column with an even-strength goal at 5:33 of the first period by junior forward Hagen Burrows. The play was created on an initial shot by Minnetonka that went wide of the net. The rebound of the back wall bounced out to an awaiting Burrows, who then scored. Assists on the player were added by junior defenseman John Stout and senior defenseman Liam Hupka.
Hill-Murray went on to tie the game at 1-1 with a goal by sophomore defenseman Landon Cottingham at 9:24 of the first. He scored on a stick side wrist shot from just inside the Minnetonka blue line on an unassisted play.
The Skippers regained a 2-1 lead at 6:57 of the second period with an even-strength goal by senior forward Maxwell Krebsbach. The play started after Krebsbach made a pass out front to teammate senior forward Jack Sand, who put a shot on net. On the rebound, Krebsbach then scored on a wrap around goal with the second assist going to sophomore defenseman Daniel Klaers.
The lead was short-lived for Minnetonka as the Pioneers fired back at 7:27 of the second with a goal by junior forward Jude Bonin. Cottingham began the play with a shot on net from the blue line. Senior forward Caden Sampair then put another shot on goal off the rebound, which provided another rebound that set up Bonin’s scoring opportunity that made it 2-2.
In the third period, Cottingham added his second goal of the evening with an even-strength tally at 4:46. Sampair provided the set-up pass for Cottingham, who connected on a blistering one-timer that made the score 3-2. Junior forward Lucas Mann provided the second assist on the goal for Hill-Murray.
Minnetonka forced the overtime session with a goal at 15:59 of the third by Burrows, which included assists from junior forward Gavin Garry and Hupka. The Skippers pulled their goalie Kaizer Nelson, a senior, with 1:26 left in the third to gain the extra attacker. With six skaters on the ice, Minnetonka offensive pressure resulted in a shot off the pipe that went wide. On the issuing play, Hupka and Garry provided the feed to Burrows for the goal that made it 3-3.
The Skippers wrapped up the victory at the tail end of the first overtime with a goal by Stout at 7:21. Assists on the game winner were provided by sophomore forward Ashton Schultz and junior forward Sam Scheetz. In the closing minute of the OT period, Schultz put a shot on net and the following rebound went out to the blue line, where Stout was able to connect on the goal.
In the game, Minnetonka dominated the shot chart at 44-15. Hill-Murray senior goalie Jack Erickson turned in a sterling performance as he made 40 saves for the Pioneers. Nelson was the goalie of record for Minnetonka with 12 saves in the match.
Minnetonka will now advance in tournament play to the semifinals on Friday, March 10 at 8:00 p.m. at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Skippers will match up against the winner of tonight’s late game between Lakeville South and Andover.
Hill-Murray will play in the consolation bracket on Friday at Noon against the loser of the Lakeville South-Andover game. The game will be played at 3M Arena at Mariucci.