Brighton High avenged its only loss in two years by topping Murray 5-2 during the state AAA hockey tournament Saturday afternoon, forcing the two teams to take the ice again Tuesday night to decide the state title.
Saturday's game at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center served as a kickoff to the visit of International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch to the Beehive State, and in pregame ceremonies, the IOC leader was presented with a basket of Utah-made goodies at center ice. Samaranch and his entourage, flown to the site by helicopter, watched most of the first period before leaving for Park City.During that first period, defense dominated, as Bengal goalie Sam Jackson and his Murray counterpart, Jay Stevens, each repelled a number of shots. The Bengals finally drew blood with 3:33 left, just after Murray's Brian Hedderman went to the penalty box for roughing. Kerry Miles took the faceoff and skated past a Murray defenseman to slap a shot past Stevens, giving Brighton a 1-0 lead after one period.
The second period was totally dominated by the Bengals, who outshot Murray 15-3. Brighton made it 2-0 early in the second when all-state MVP Shawn Hansen took a pass from Jeff Zahniser and punched it in. Even though Brighton led by two goals, the play of Stevens in the net during the second period was outstanding, and Murray could easily have trailed by two or three other goals.
But the Spartans, who had beaten and tied Brighton earlier in the year and could have won the title outright with a win on Saturday, started very aggressively in the third period. Just 90 seconds had expired when Jeremy Miller took a pass just inside the blue line from Hedderman, then flipped a shot over Jackson's right shoulder to make it 2-1.
Brighton responded quickly, however. With 8:41 left, Todd Nate netted a shot with the assist from Miles, and 70 seconds later, Mike Jerman drilled a shot past Stevens, on a pass from Jason Nicholl and Sier VanKomen, and the Bengals never trailed again. Tuesday's state final is set for 7:30 p.m. at Cottonwood.