"Tequila" the 1958 classic by The Champs echoed through the Lakeville North locker room. The song reached it's peak as the beat dropped into a dubstep remix of the classic, assuring the Panthers that it was time to celebrate.
Freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger stopped all 34 shots No. 2-ranked Hill-Murray flung at him, shutting out the Pioneers 3-0 on Saturday night at Ames Arena. No. 10 Lakeville North, unbeaten in the past eight games, is one of the state's hottest teams.
The 6-foot-3 Oettinger played a stand-up style, but with such a large frame was able to take up plenty of open-net even when playing on his knees.
Hill-Murray's Mitch Slattery had a point-blank shot in the slot on a 4-on-3 power play, but Oettinger got a piece of his glove on the shot with a mess of players in front of him.
"We put our best line against them," Oettinger said about Slattery's line. "We did a good job stopping them."
Patience was key for the Panthers' defense as they played a near mistake-free game. Lakeville North's defenders didn't force any passes, provided a physical presence and displayed strong ice awareness as they aided Oettinger in his shutout performance.
"The best you can do is allow your goalie to see pucks and take care of rebounds," Lakeville North coach Trent Eigner said.
Almost halfway through the third period, Jack McNeely rifled a shot from the point that bounced off Hill-Murray goaltender Sean Wendlandt's chest. Senior Tristen Hazlett saw the rebound to the left of the net and sent it top shelf over Wendlandt's leg pad for his second goal. McNeely had two assists, both on Hazlett's goals.
With a three-goal lead, Oettinger played with oblivious confidence as Lakeville North killed three penalties following the goal to finish the game.
"I wasn't really nervous. I have confidence in our PK, we work on it a lot in practice," Oettinger said. "Coach told me to play your game; the puck's as big as a beach ball."
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