Hill-Murray’s Marko Reifenberger scores his first of two goals in the Pioneers’ 5-2 win over White Bear Lake on Tuesday. Credit: Peter Odney.
Sometimes it takes a less than perfect win to reverse a losing trend.
“We needed the win,” Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner said after his Pioneers downed longtime Suburban East Conference and Class 2A, Section 4 rival White Bear Lake 5-2 on Tuesday night at Aldrich Arena.
“It was a bit ugly, but I’m sure (White Bear Lake) would say the same thing,” Lechner added.
Hill-Murray, ranked No. 4 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll, used four shorthanded goals to beat the No. 20 ranked Bears (3-2-0), getting one each from junior forward Marko Reifenberger, senior forward Luke Ranallo, senior defenseman Sean Ryan, and junior forward Brock Bremer.
Reifenberger’s first goal came at even strength in the second period on a beautiful breakaway shot that cleanly beat White Bear Lake goaltender Bob Parenteau.
“I’ve been doing this (for) I think 35 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen four shorties, but we’ll take it,” Lechner said.
Senior defenseman Wyatt Newpower scored on a penalty shot, and senior forward Nick Sager scored for the Bears.
Wyatt Newpower scores on a penalty shot for White Bear Lake in the Bears’ 5-2 loss to Hill-Murray. Credit: Peter Odney.
The victory came after back-to-back losses to No. 3 Benilde St. Margaret’s and No. 9 Wayzata, a streak that Lechner says is unacceptable for the program.
“I’m not trying to say it arrogantly, but we’re not allowed to lose two games in a row at (Hill-Murray),” Lechner said.
The win helps assuage the losses for the Pioneers (2-2-0), and Reifenberger’s two goals should help fire up his scoring prowess that enabled him to post 19 goals and 41 points last season as a sophomore.
“I’ve kind of struggled in past games,” Reifenberger said. “The boys just seemed to really turn it on in the third, so it felt really good to get (the goals).”
Reifenberger’s performance may have given the junior captain a little more confidence in the team going forward.
“(It’s) really important to get some momentum going forward here,” Reifenberger said. “We’ve had a tough couple of games, but we feel like we’re getting back on track.”