High school roundup: Defending 2A boys hockey champ Hill-Murray returns to state tourney with 5-0 shutout of White Bear Lake

Defending Class 2A state boys hockey champion Hill-Murray moved one step closer to a possible repeat, beating White Bear Lake 5-0 on Wednesday night in the Class 2A, Section 4 championship game at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood.

The Pioneers (18-2-0) have been winning behind a balanced scoring attack all season, and the story was no different Wednesday. Five players scored, including defensemen Matthew Fleischhacker and Axel Begley. Both scored goals on the power play and each contributed an assist.

“If you try to shut down our forwards, our defensemen can get goals. If you try and shut down our D, our forwards take over,” Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner said. “We’re not saying we’re going to be state champs again; we got a lot of work to do, but there’s enough balance where it’s tough to play against us.”

Junior goaltender Nick Erickson notched his seventh shutout of the season, stopping all 15 shots from the Bears (16-4-1). Lechner said Erickson played steady through a late Bears push, something he’s been successful with all season for Hill-Murray.

Lechner said the Pioneers have been fortunate to make it through the season healthy and only face one cancellation. Now, they await their matchup in the state tournament.

“We look forward to it. They’re all good teams,” Lechner said. “We’ll go play and see what we can do.”

Lakeville South 7, Lakeville North 3: The Class 2A, Section 1 championship matchup between the Cougars and Panthers was tied 3-3 after two periods, but Lakeville South (18-0-2) scored four unanswered in the third.

Lakeville South senior forward Cam Boche notched a hat trick, scoring on the power play in the first before punching in two more — one an empty netter — in the third. Senior defenseman Jack Malinski assisted on the first-period power-play goal, one of his two assists to go along with his own power-play goal in the third.

Jameson Klein finished with a goal and an assist for the Panthers (12-7-2).

Girls basketball

Farmington 79, Rochester Mayo 39: The Tigers (21-0) were poised to play for the Class 4A state championship last season before the tournament was canceled amid the pandemic. On Wednesday, they punched their return ticket to the tournament in a dominant performance that marked their 33rd consecutive win dating back to last season.

The Tigers scored 55 points in the first half alone. They were led by Peyton Blandin’s season–high 25 points and Sophie Hart with 21. Junior Rose Wille also notched a season-high for the Tigers with 14 points.

Mullk Hammadelniel scored a team-high 13 points and Anna Miller chipped in 11 for Rochester Mayo (16-3).

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