Lightning to play tourney’s No. 1 seed
Eastview toppled the state’s fourth-ranked team in the Section 3AA boys hockey tournament last week, and now its road gets tougher.
The Lightning will play Hill-Murray, ranked first in the final Let’s Play Hockey state rankings, in the Class AA quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.
The other South Suburban Conference team in the state tournament, Lakeville North, plays Edina in the second game of the quarterfinal round at approximately 1 p.m.
Eastview (18-9-1) is unseeded and was matched with Hill-Murray, the No. 1 seed, in a random draw that took place Saturday.
Zach Driscoll, who became Eastview’s starting goalie in late December, has a .942 save percentage. He had shutouts in the first two rounds of the playoffs and stopped 37 shots in the Lightning’s 4-1 victory over South Suburban Conference champion Eagan in the Section 3AA championship game Feb. 28.
Senior forward Ryan McNamara is the team’s leading scorer with 22 goals and 20 assists.
Hill-Murray (25-2-1) defeated White Bear Lake 1-0 in the Section 4AA final. The Pioneers are regulars at the state tournament, having made 25 previous appearances and winning three championships. Eastview is at state for the second time overall and the first time since 2001.
Lakeville North (11-16-1) beat defending section champion Lakeville South 6-3 in the Section 1AA final Feb. 28. The Panthers are in the state tournament for the fourth time as Lakeville North; they also reached state three times as Lakeville High School.
Junior forward Tristen Hazlett (31 points) and senior forward Jack Diercks (30 points) are the Panthers’ leading scorers.
Edina (22-6), the tournament’s third seed, defeated Burnsville 3-2 in the Section 2AA final. The Hornets are at state for the second consecutive year and 24th year overall.
The Lakeville North-Edina winner will play Duluth East or Moorhead in the Class AA semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday at the Xcel Center. Eastview or Hill-Murray will face Centennial or Wayzata in the other semifinal at 8 p.m. Friday.
The championship game is 7 p.m. Saturday.
Defending state Class AA champion Benilde-St. Margaret’s lost to Wayzata in the Section 6AA final.