Blaine advances to state championship, defeating Hill-Murray 5-1

Sports Reporter
Sam is the sports reporter for ABC Newspapers, covering high school, junior college and community sports in the area. He joined the staff in October 2016.
Paige Beebe scores 11 seconds into the third period to give Blaine a 4-1 lead against Hill-Murray in the Class AA state semifinals Friday. The Bengals went on to win 5-1 and play in the state championship at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center. (Photo by Sam Herder)
Paige Beebe scores 11 seconds into the third period to give Blaine a 4-1 lead against Hill-Murray in the Class AA state semifinals Friday. The Bengals went on to win 5-1 and play in the state championship at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center. (Photo by Sam Herder)

In 13 seconds of game time, the second-seeded Blaine girls hockey team grabbed all the momentum it needed in the Class AA state semifinals against third-seeded Hill-Murray. Emily Brown scored with two seconds remaining in the second period and Paige Beebe scored 11 seconds into the third. Just like that, the Bengals turned their 2-1 lead into a 4-1 lead en route to a 5-1 victory Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Blaine now aims for its first state title in program history at 7 p.m. Saturday versus No. 1 Edina, who beat fourth-seeded Eden Prairie 4-0.

“I thought we played a great hockey game,” Blaine head coach Steve Guider said. “I’m very proud of this group of kids. They are a hard working bunch. They got what they deserved, because they put in the time with lifting and their effort in practice. They say hard work pays off and tonight for these kids it did.”

The Bengals’ relentless offensive attack out-shot Hill-Murray 33-14 in the game. They built a 2-0 lead with goals from Ramsey Parent and Courtney Moser early in the second period. Haylee Blinkhorn brought the deficit to 2-1 for the Pioneers 2:30 after Moser’s goal.

The turning point came at the end of the second period. Brown rifled a shot and hit the top right corner of the net just before the buzzer sounded.

“I didn’t really know how much time exactly was left,” Brown said. “I was hoping it would get off in time. We had good screens in front, so it was definitely a big momentum shift for us.”

The momentum carried over when Beebe scored in the first 15 seconds of the third period for the second game in a row.

“We were fortunate enough to get the goal at the very end of the second, but we knew that we couldn’t let up,” Beebe said. “We like to score fast, so that was our goal.”

Gabby Rosenthal added one more score with 6:31 remaining in the game when Beebe found her in front of the net for the easy look.

Jaela O’Brien had 13 saves for the Bengals.

Keeping the momentum on its side was key for Blaine. The Bengals led Hill-Murray 3-0 when the two teams met on Jan. 26, but allowed three straight goals in the second period. The game eventually went into overtime and ended with a 4-4 tie.

“We played really well against them last time,” Guider said. “There were a couple goals that probably shouldn’t have gone in. But we had out-shot them 49-20, so we were feeling good about our chances coming in. They’re a good hockey teeam, but we have three lines that are all pretty quick and I don’t think they were able to match our speed, especially in the lower lines.”

Edina is 27-1-1 and has outscored its four postseason opponents 16-1.

“We know we’ll have to come out hard and score fast,” Beebe said “Both teams playing right now are very good, so we know either way the outcome of that game, we have to play our game.”

First report

In 13 seconds of game time, the second-seeded Blaine girls hockey team grabbed all the momentum it needed in the Class AA state semifinals against third-seeded Hill-Murray. Emily Brown scored with two seconds remaining in the second period and Paige Beebe scored 11 seconds into the third. Just like that, the Bengals turned their 2-1 lead into a 4-1 lead en route to a 5-1 victory Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Blaine now aims for its first state title in program history at 7 p.m. Saturday versus the winner of No. 1 Edina and fourth-seeded Eden Prairie.

The Bengals’ relentless offensive attack out-shot Hill-Murray 33-14 in the game. They built a 2-0 lead with goals from Ramsey Parent and Courtney Moser early in the second period. Haylee Blinkhorn brought the deficit to 2-1 for the Pioneers 2:30 minutes after Moser’s goal.

The turning point came at the end of the second period. Brown rifled a shot and hit the top right corner of the net just before the buzzer sounded. The momentum carried over when Beebe scored in the first 15 seconds of the third period for the second game in a row.

Gabby Rosenthal added one more goal with 6:31 remaining in the game when Beebe found her in front of the net for the easy look.

Jaela O’Brien had 13 saves for the Bengals.