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Captain Chaos Stuns Bears

Explosive ending fuels Pioneers in unforgettable win over Bears at Hockey Day

Hill-Murray's Brady Ingebritson watches as the puck he shot crosses the goal line for the overtime winner over White Bear Lake at Polar Lakes Park in White Bear Township. (MHM Photo / Jeff Wegge)

Hill-Murray used late fireworks to overcome a final-minute deficit in defeating its bitter rival White Bear Lake to cap Hockey Day Minnesota 2023. 


The 91st all-time meeting between these northeast metro schools, separated by just five miles, had another unforgettable chapter written, and not just because this edition was played outside. In a series that has featured countless dramatics and unforgettable endings, this one will go down in the history books forever.

Trailing by a goal in the final minute, the Pioneers used some early celebratory fireworks as motivation to find the tying goal with 46 seconds remaining in regulation before winning 2:06 into the extra session.

Brady Ingebritson is mobbed by teammates celebrating his game winner. (MHM Photo / Jeff Wegge)

Both goals were scored by senior captain Brady Ingebritson, who celebrated his tying and winning exploits by leaping into the glass in front of a jubilant — and stunned — Pioneer student section.

“I’ll be talking about this the rest of my life,” Ingebritson said. “OT, Hockey Day, against White Bear Lake. This is just a dream come true.

“And I love the fireworks.”

Moments before the goal, Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner called timeout to gather his troops ahead of an offensive zone faceoff and to pull his goalie for the extra attacker. 

Then, rather inexplicably, a fireworks display reminiscent of Fourth of July grand finale, began going off along the near horizon about 200 yards from the ice sheet. 

Did someone hit the button too early? Was there confusion with the horn signifying the end of the timeout? 

Regardless of what happened, it’s set in motion a series of events that will live in infamy in these parts for years. 

With smoke from the display settling in, and fireworks still going off in the distance, officials dropped the puck to resume play in the White Bear Lake defensive zone. Forced into a front-row viewing of the pyrotechnics was Bears sophomore goaltender Leo Gabriel, who corralled a first shot, but couldn’t contain a second, with Ingebritson whipping the puck through the haze and into the cage.

“The fireworks, that got my energy up,” Ingebritson said. “I got together with the guys and said, ‘look at this, they’re already celebrating the win.’

“Our energy was going. The fireworks were great, that helped us.”

It’s not often Lechner, the legendary 69-year-old head coach of the Pioneers, sees something new at a hockey rink. But this certainly qualified.

“We always talk about, ‘play between the glass,’ if we’re focused, they don’t know if they’re playing in front of 10 people or 10,000,” Lechner said. “It’s easier said than done, especially with kids. They’re not pros.”

It’s a consistent message that Lechner preaches, regardless of the setting, the opponent or the time of game, and in this case, that calm paid off.

When things got wild at the end, Hill-Murray looked calm and composed in a setting that was anything but.

“It’s easy to say when you win that you have the perfect formula,” Lechner said. “It’s a little bit early to have everything falling into place, and we still don’t have all the pieces, but we’ll get some guys back and we’ll get closer.”

Dan Myers has been covering hockey at all levels for over a decade. After falling in love with the game as a youth watching games with his dad, Dan began writing about it while in college at Minnesota State University, working for the MSU Reporter, Mankato Free Press, and College Hockey News. Dan currently covers the Minnesota Wild in his role as the team’s Digital Content Coordinator. His work has also appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Rocky Mountain News, and others.

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