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Posted by Guest (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 3/10/2012 11:16:31 PM

By Luke Sleeper

The Benilde-St. Margaret’s team motto this season has been “Believe in Miracles.” With injured teammate Jack Jablonski looking on, the Red Knights pulled off another miracle Saturday with a 5-1 state championship win over Hill-Murray.

It was an extra-miraculous performance by Benilde junior forward Grant Besse, who scored all five of the Red Knights’ goals and stole the show in the 2A final. His first goal was arguably the most impressive of the bunch, finding the upper right corner of the net form a sharp angle near the bottom of the circle.

“No one comes into a championship game expecting to score five goals,” Besse said. “You think it’s going to be a hard-fought defensive battle. To have this experience for myself and for my teammates, it’s awesome.”

His second goal came after Hill-Murray gave up possession behind its own net. The loose puck found Besse’s stick, with just Pioneer goalie John Dugas between him and his second goal.

With the score 3-0 in the third period, Hill-Murray’s fortunes seemed to change, but only momentarily. A five-minute major penalty on Benilde gave the Pioneers a power play and junior forward Zach LaValle took full advantage with a goal of his own. But not even two minutes later Besse scored again, capitalizing on his second breakaway, short-handed scoring effort. It was the second of three consecutive short-handed goals for Besse.

“Tonight, Grant (Besse) wrote himself into the record books,” Benilde coach Ken Pauly said.

As the clock wound down and victory for the Red Knights was imminent, chants of “Jabby!” rang all around the Xcel Energy Center.

“I watched a bunch of guys grow up this season in a million different ways,” Pauly said. “They showed they could care so much about one person and not just through words but through actions.”

The state title is the third for Benilde St. Margaret’s. The others were in 1999 and 2001 in Class 1A.

--Luke Sleeper is a journalism student at the University of Minnesota


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