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State hockey: Minnetonka outlasts Hill-Murray in 4 overtimes, advances to championship

From left, Minnetonka's Troy Hesketh and Hill Murray's David Bruchu collide during the Class A State boys hockey tournament on Friday, March 12, 2010, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Star Tribune, Bruce Bisping)

ST. PAUL (AP) -- Having just finished one of the longest games in state tournament history, Minnetonka goaltender Jim Kruger couldn't remember many of the key saves he had made minutes -- and hours -- before.

Yet, after more than 86 minutes in net, Kruger could take comfort knowing he had made all the saves the Skippers needed.

Kruger stopped 42 shots and Erik Baskin scored 2:31 into the fourth overtime to send Minnetonka to the Class 2A state championship game with a 2-1 victory against Hill-Murray early Saturday morning.

Baskin took a pass from Sam Rothstein and was able to sneak a wraparound goal past Pioneers goaltender Tim Shaughnessy. The Skippers advance to Saturday's state championship game against Edina, which beat Apple Valley 2-0 earlier.

"I was just throwing it on net," Baskin said. "A garbage goal. I was just trying to send everyone home."

However, Baskin's heroics wouldn't have been possible without Kruger providing the last line of defense for Minnetonka. Kruger made several crucial saves, including a diving stop on Hill-Murray's Willie Faust with 15 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

"It's pretty much just a blur," Kruger said. "It sounds kind of crazy, but for me that game just flew by.

"I think it's pretty safe to say it's the most fun I've ever had playing hockey."

Baskin's game-winner came at 86:31, just shy of the tournament record 93:12 set in 1996 between Apple Valley and Duluth East. Despite the length of the game, neither team took a penalty.

Minnetonka's Andrew Prochno opened the scoring in the first period. Chris Casto answered for Hill-Murray a few minutes later before both goaltenders settled in.

The Pioneers were especially stingy on defense, allowing the top-seeded Skippers just three combined shots in the second and third periods. Minnetonka was outshot 43-29.

"It was probably the best defensive job I've ever seen in my career of hockey," Shaughnessy said of his team's defense. "It was unreal. They were blocking shots left and right. They weren't giving them any opportunities. They let me see the puck."

Both teams had multiple strong scoring chances throughout the extra sessions, but Kruger and Shaughnessy stood strong.

Shaughnessy finished with 27 saves.

"It was ebb and flow," Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner said. "We took it to them sometimes and they got us sometimes. Two good goaltenders. I thought Kruger played great. He shut us down. We had some great chances there to score. They had some as well. It was just two good hockey teams. That would have been a fun championship game."