March 5, 2020 @ Xcel Energy Center 8:00
Hill-Murray defeated Moorhead 5-1 in the late quarterfinal, less than three weeks after concluding the regular season with a 4-3 win at Moorhead. The game featured two Brimsek finalists between the pipes, Remington Keopple and Hudson Hodges. Hodges had the first action less than a minute in when he poked the puck away from Henry Eischen who had broken in alone. The Pioneers did get the first goal a few minutes later; Nate Hardy took Axel Begley’s long pass off the right wing boards and dropped the puck for linemate Charlie Strobel, who picked the far upper corner. Hill-Murray struck again midway through the period as Nick Pierre stickhandled all the way from his defensive zone up the left side and sped around a defenseman. Hodges tried a poke check again but missed, and Pierre tucked a backhand between his legs for a 2-0 lead.
That was perhaps Hill-Murray’s best first period of the season, followed by what was definitely their best second period, in which they racked up 19 shots to Moorhead’s 3. Their only blemish was a power play goal by Spud Luke Gramer, who fired a long shot through a screen and past Keopple’s glove. But that was as close as Moorhead got, and Hill-Murray regained a two goal lead just over a minute later. Strobel retained control in the offensive zone with excellent stick and body work while his linemates were changing, and eventually his centering pass was swatted in by Pierre at the top of the crease.
Hill-Murray continued peppering the Moorhead net and broke the game open when Jared Jensen scored twice, 14 seconds apart. At the end of a successful penalty kill, Dylan Godbout caused a turnover in the neutral zone and fed Jensen breaking down the center for his first goal. Seconds later, those two players staged a reenactment, as Godbout again set up Jensen who shot off the crossbar and in.
That concluded the scoring, although the Pioneers continued their superior play with good speed, passing, and defensive support from both forwards and defense. Moorhead had few open shots throughout the game, and Hill-Murray’s entire lineup locked down the victory in the third. That set up another rematch in the semifinal, this time with St. Thomas Academy, which defeated top-ranked Andover 3-2 in an earlier quarterfinal.
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