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Thursday, March 11, 2010
Hockey (B)
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Apple Valley
Blaine

2A Quarterfinals: Apple Valley def. Blaine

By Kyle Stevens
Xcel Energy Center - St. Paul, Minn

Eagle goalie Aaron Gretz ended up in the net, but he never let a puck by him in Apple Valley's 2-0 upset over Blaine.

The Minnesota National Guard selects our Two Stars:

Aaron Gretz
Apple Valley
30 saves, 30 shots against

Danny Harper
Blaine
15 saves, 16 shots against

For more information on The Guards, go to http://1800goguard.com

Apple Valley 2
Adam Robson: 1 goal, 1 shot
Kris Goodman: 1 assist
Chris Fischer: 1 assist
Team: 17 shots on goal
Team: 0 for 3 on power play

Blaine 0
Nick Bjugstad: 5 shots on goal
Jonny Brodzinski: 9 shots on goal
Gavin Tufte: 4 shots on goal
Team: 30 shots on goal
Team: 0 for 3 on power play

The Story
In a state tournament that has seen blowout after blowout, Blaine and Apple Valley kept over 16,000 people on the edge of their seat for 51-minutes. Hudson Fasching's empty net goal with 11-seconds remaining sealed Apple Valley's upset over the No. 3 seeded Bengals.
Apple Valley, who have been prohibitive underdogs for at least the last three games, came out in the opening period and answered Blaine's physical play with some of their own. Crisp passing and all-around team play was the main cog in the Eagle machine, but something else may have played a role. Youth. Not in the they're-all-teenagers-with-fresh-legs kind of way. More of a too-young-to-know-better way.
The underdog role fits, but these are more wonder-pups. Fasching is quickly becoming the awe-inspiring dangler of the tourney as a freshman. Adam Robson, who's eventual game-winner was scored late in the second period, is one of only five seniors on an Eagles' roster that boasts 10 sophomores.
Even the style of play has to fit the Eagles. Asked if he considered going into a defensive shell to protect a 1-0 lead late in the third period, Apple Valley coach Jerry Hayes said, "We're still pushing the puck (at that point). I mean, I don't want to confuse our guys."
Even when regarding the young phenom in Fasching, coach Hayes was cracking wise. "We don't have anyone that can mirror him," he said when referring to Blaine's Nick Bjugstad. "He's (Fasching) close, but we're too busy telling him what to do."

The Quote
"We wanna keep the fans in their seats." - Apple Valley head coach Jerry Hayes on what he felt when his team went without a shot for an extended time in the second period.

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