The boys lacrosse state championship game began hours before Thursday’s scheduled 8 p.m. start time for goaltender Thomas Gilligan.
Even before BSM’s mid-afternoon pre-game meetings, assistant coach Mike Evans took upwards of 200 shots on Gilligan in preparation for the Red Knights’ clash with Eden Prairie for the state title in Chanhassen.
“We had a lot of shots before we even got here, and then we kept shooting, kept shooting,” Gilligan said. “He kept me in the zone about three hours before the game, so credit him for all of it.”
The early workout paid off for BSM, as Gilligan collected save after save for the unbeaten Red Knights in a 9-3 victory over the Eagles. The win handed BSM its second straight title and third in five years, and capped off a perfect 18-0 season.
Gilligan shut down a potent Eden Prairie lineup that scored 10 or more goals 11 times this year. He collected 16 saves on the night—including five in the first quarter that set the tone for BSM’s defensive dominance.
“He made an unbelievable amount of saves tonight,” BSM coach Colin Mulcahy said. “He played his best game of his career.”
Added senior defender Zach Silvestri: “(He) absolutely stood on his head—I’ve never seen someone make that many saves.”
But slowing down Eden Prairie (15-3) was a collective effort on Thursday, and the Red Knights fed off each other defensively. Knowing the Eagles’ standout scorers Matt Hugdahl, Mitch Hugdahl and Jake Woodring would slash to the net, BSM swarmed as a unit and rarely let Eden Prairie get an uncontested shot on goal.
Silvestri said while last year’s state title was won primarily with offense, the defense hoped to make its mark this season.
“There were a lot of people that thought we only won last year because of the talented seniors we had, and a lot of those people might be kind of right,” he said. “So we felt like we had something to prove.”
Leading 2-1 with nine seconds remaining in the first quarter, BSM’s defense lapsed and allowed Eden Prairie’s Mitch Hugdahl to tie the game at 2-2. It was the last lapse of the game, as the Red Knights (18-0) scored seven unanswered goals to put the contest out of reach.
BSM’s Will Hoesley, Nick Lauth and Taylor Topousis each notched two goals for the Red Knights, while Christian Horn, Christian Rekow and Robbie Lance had one apiece.
The Red Knights outshot the Eagles 32-26 in the game, and Mulcahy said the team took advantage of the opportunities they received.
“All the guys understood the situation of the game,” Mulcahy said. “They pushed when they needed to.”
Mulcahy said he liked the sound of BSM winning three championships in five years. But one question remains—is this the beginning of a dynasty?
“One more (title),” Mulcahy said, smiling, “and maybe we’ll start calling it that.”