Photo gallery: Benilde-St. Margaret's vs. Chanhassen
“The big thing [was] we were trying to rid our wrongs from the last time we were in this stadium,” Benilde-St. Margaret’s head coach Giuseppe Palermo said. “We have three losses since 2018, this program does, and all three have taken place on this field. It feels nice to get a ‘W’ in this stadium.”
The last loss Benilde-St. Margaret’s suffered was in Chanhassen in an 11-10 double overtime thriller on May 4, 2021.
“I was just thinking I don’t want to lose here again, or at all in general,” Benilde-St. Margaret’s junior defenseman Riley Murphy said. “We did get a little sloppy, but we stayed strong and fought it out.”
Murphy was one of the cogs in a deep, tenacious Red Knight defense. Chanhassen had trouble passing and was held to just a pair of goals in the first half trailing by four at the break.
One of the early highlights came from Murphy flashing some offensive prowess. After he stole the ball just shy of midfield, Murphy bolted down field to deposit it into the net to give his team a 2-0 lead with 3 minutes, 56 seconds left in the first quarter.
Murphy earned 'Knight of the Game' honors from the coaching staff, which comes with a toy sword that stays in his possession until the next game.
With nine future Division-I players on the field between the two powerhouse programs, that’s no small distinction.
Chanhassen’s one-two offensive punch of junior Daxter Bush and senior Carter Van Holland combined for five goals with Bush recording a hat trick.
A pretty wraparound goal by Van Holland pulled the Storm within 3-1 in the first quarter, but highlights were hard to come by.
Two goals in the opening minutes of the second half, including a long-range, bar-down snipe from Adam Backman, kept the momentum going for the red-hot Red Knights.
They led 13-2 after three quarters. Junior midfielder Gus Bell finished with a hat trick and team-high four points. On the season, he’s tops on the team in points (52) and goals (36).
“We were really happy, especially going into halftime and the fourth quarter,” Benilde-St. Margaret’s senior long stick midfielder Caio Stephens said. “We kind of let up the gas and got a couple penalties that we shouldn’t have had and gave them some opportunities to score. They’re a great team, they have a lot of guys who battle hard. They took advantage of the opportunities we gave them, but at the end of the day, a win’s a win.”
The Red Knights haven’t skipped a beat under their new head coach, who spent years in the program as an assistant under previous head coach Rob Horn, who retired after winning back-to-back state titles.
“I think the big thing has been the leadership among the guys. Not only the captains and the upperclassmen, but the togetherness of the group and making sure they’re doing it with one another and for one another,” Palermo said. “That’s been a really exciting thing to see as a head coach. We’re just staying steady and trying to reach our end goal at the end of the year.”
Iron sharpens iron. Murphy sharpens his sword each day in practice.
“If I do something wrong in practice, I have like 30 people who can help me,” Murphy said, “because we’re all best in the state.”
Chanhassen suffered its biggest margin of defeat since a 21-9 loss at Stillwater on May 16, 2019.
Storm head coach Jon Junker urged his team to have a short memory with hopes these two can meet again at the state tournament.
“It’s amnesia,” Junker said. “They’re number one and we made too many mistakes. So we bounce back, we have a big game right away on Thursday. It’s next man up and we move on.”