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HSSR Hockey Game of the Week: White Bear Lake vs. Hill Murray

HSSR Hockey Game of the Week: White Bear Lake vs. Hill Murray
HSSR Hockey Game of the Week: White Bear Lake vs. Hill Murray 02:08

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — If aliens from outer space came down to Earth to study Minnesota, Aldrich Arena on Friday night would have been a good place to start. 

The only problem is, they wouldn't be able to get in. Tickets for the Section 4AA Final and Rivalry matchup between Hill Murray and White Bear Lake sold out in less than 10 minutes.

Annually, this section final is a spectacle so naturally, the facility was packed to the rafters. 

Those dressed in orange and black didn't have to wait long to erupt. 36 seconds into the game, White Bear Lake scored on a bouncing puck and got the ideal start thanks to Jack Stanius.

That score held for almost 50 minutes.

In the second period, the Bears had a good chance on the attack, Hill Murray's Andrew Lane made a clean glove save off Nolan Roed. 

The Pioneers almost tripled White Bear Lake's shot total through two periods.

WBL started the third period with a 4-on-3 but couldn't convert. 

A golden opportunity arose later on, but Hill-Murray's Caden Zasada sent it high right in front. The Pioneers had the most pressure for much of the night. 

But they committed a holding penalty with less than two minutes to go and with the Pioneer's goalie pulled, Blake Eckerle sealed it with an empty net goal from the side of the net. 

The Bears added another empty netter, White Bear Lake won it 3-0 as the Bears and their fans celebrated an important win.

"This is awesome, I mean, no better feeling than this, going to the X, this is great," said junior goaltender Leo Gabriel. 

Junior forward Jack Stanius was absolutely ecstatic about how things unfolded for the Bears. 

"It was a big one but it all started with a good shot on net," said Stanius. "I was just there to finish the goal." 

Hill Murray outshot the Bears by a wide margin but great goaltending won it. White Bear Lake is returning to the state tournament for the first time since 2019.

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