Updated: 03/09/2013 12:46 AM KSTP.com By: Chris Long
Hill-Murray fell one game short of a State Championship in 2012, losing in the Final to Benilde-St Margaret's. The Pioneers have earned a chance to avenge that loss in 2013.
Entering the third period of their Class AA Semifinal against Wayzata, Hill-Murray scored twice in the third, then survived a furious flurry late to win 2-1.
Trailing 1-0 with 7:30 to go in the game, the Pioneers finally got on the board via Davis Zarembinski - who already made his mark this postseason with the Section Final winning goal against White Bear Lake. He whistled a wrister in from the slot to tie the game at 1.
Just three minutes later, fortune favored the Pioneers. Wayzata keeper Aaron Dingmann, who was outstanding throughout the Trojans postseason run, had dropped his stick. Hill-Murray's Ryan Black fired a shot in that appeared to bounce off the dropped stick, off the right post, into Dingmann's right leg, then into the net. It was an improbable, but effective, game-winning tally.
Wayzata did mount a furious charge in the final minutes, bolstered by a 6-on-4 advantage thanks to a pulled goalie and a Hill-Murray penalty in the final minute.
The outcome wasn't assured until Hill-Murray keeper John Dugas snagged a tricky shot that came directly off a faceoff in the final second, and the horn sounded.
The save as the clock hit 0:00 was Dugas' 26th of the game. Dingmann recorded 27 in taking the loss.
Chase Haller recorded the Trojans lone goal mid-second period after a nifty puck-cycle play left him alone in front of the net to convert on Jalen Wahl's pass from behind the net.
Hill-Murray returns to the state title game, where they'll face Edina at 7pm on Saturday night.
Wayzata will face Duluth East in the 3rd place game.