Following three periods of intense, physical play, the Edina Hornets emerged from the Minnesota state hockey tournament with the district's 11th class 2A hockey championship.
The Hornets were simply too much for the Hill-Murray Pioneers, thanks to strong play from Cullen Munson and Willie Benjamin.
Traditionally stoic Head Coach Curt Giles cracked a smile when the final buzzer sounded, saying he was incredibly happy to see all of his players' hard work finally pay off.
"I could not be prouder of our kids, prouder of our school, prouder of our community, of our coaching staff," Giles said. "We've got such a great organization. I give credit to the kids. They showed up and played hard."
Hill-Murray took an early lead in the game, with Josh French opening scoring in the first period. Dylan Malmquist tied things up for Edina, with a power play goal at 10:29 in the first period to make it 1-1.
A little more than six minutes later, Cullen Munson made it 2-1 Edina with four minutes left in the first period. Munson found net again early in the second, giving Edina a 3-1 lead. At the end of the night, Munson took home player of the game honors for his efforts.
With 2:31 left in the second period, Anthony Walsh sank a beautiful goal on a breakaway to put Edina up 4-1 over the Pioneers. Hill-Murray was finally able to get another one past Hornets goalie Willie Benjamin—who made 25 saves during the game—to go into the third period 4-2.
In a post-game interview, Benjamin said he worked hard to "make sure I was on top of my game."
"I kind of feel like it's whoever shows up on those three nights," Benjamin said. "I'm glad it was us."
Despite numerous shots on goal for both teams, neither one was able to find daylight in the third period. The Hornets killed a penalty late in the third period and were able to weather the storm from Hill-Murray to win the Class 2A state title.
It's the first state championship win for the Hornets since 2010 and second since 1997.