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Pioneers, Bears meet in section final
Hill-Murray and White Bear Lake have long been rivals in boys hockey and have met in the section playoffs numerous times over the years. Many of those post-season meetings have come with the section championship on the line.
Last week, the girls hockey teams from those two schools met in a section final for the first time. Top-seeded Hill-Murray and No. 3 seed White Bear Lake squared off on Feb. 17 at Aldrich Arena with the winner claiming a berth in this week’s state tournament.
Results of the contest were not available for this edition of the Review.
Hill-Murray reached the section final by dispatching Irondale/St. Anthony and Roseville in the first two rounds. The Pioneers beat Irondale 6-1 and Roseville 4-0.
White Bear Lake took care of North/Tartan 4-0 in the quarterfinals and upset second-seeded Mounds View 2-1 in overtime in the semifinals.
In the Irondale game, Hill-Murray trailed 1-0 in the first period. It was the first time the Pioneers had faced a deficit in a section playoff game since losing the 2012 section final to Roseville.
Hill-Murray wasn’t behind for long as Abigail Boreen answered Irondale’s goal just 23 seconds later. The game was tied 1-1 after the first period but the Pioneers took over in the second on goals by Katie Kaufman and Erica Steigauf. Morgan Helgeson, Mariah Keopple and Helgeson again scored in the third.
In the semifinal against Roseville on Feb. 14, Hill-Murray was also tied after the first period, this time at 0-0. Helgeson broke the tie just 22 seconds into the second period and Boreen also notched a goal in the middle frame. Nina Steigauf and Helgeson added third-period goals.
Prior to this year, the last time Hill-Murray and White Bear Lake met in the post-season was in the 2011 section semifinals. They also faced each other in the section semifinals in 2010.
The Hill-Murray/White Bear Lake winner advances to the Class AA state tournament and will play in a state quarterfinal on Thursday, Feb. 23 at Xcel Energy Center.
Section 4AA girls hockey playoffs
Game 1 -- Hill-Murray 6, Irondale/St. Anthony 1
Game 2 -- Roseville 7, Stillwater 2
Game 3 -- White Bear Lake 4, North/Tartan 0
Game 4 -- Mounds View 5, Woodbury 0
Game 5 -- Hill-Murray 4, Roseville 0
Game 6 -- White Bear Lake 2, Mounds View 1, OT
Game 7 -- Hill-Murray vs. White Bear Lake