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RAPID CITY, S.D. - Castle Creighton and Casey Higgins made sure the Missoula Bruins high school hockey team finished its state-championship season on a positive note Sunday.

After falling behind 3-0 to the Billings Junior Bulls late in the second period of their season finale, Creighton and Higgins led a dramatic rally to a 6-3 Bruins' victory in the loser-takes-sixth game at the President's Cup Northern Plains regional tournament.

Following goals for Billings by Raymond Scherer, Matthew Rose and Zane Barragree, Creighton lit a spark under his teammates. After winning a faceoff within Missoula's defensive zone, Creighton stickhandled the length of the ice and beat Billings goalie Kyle Dunnett just 10 seconds from the second intermission.

Another unassisted tally by Creighton pulled Missoula within 3-2 before three goals by Higgins and another by team captain Cody Skilling went unanswered by the Bulls the rest of the way.

Higgins' empty-net goal with 51 seconds left capped his first career hat trick and sealed the win.

Missoula, which beat the Bulls in Billings 3-2 in overtime March 7 for the state title, finished at 31-10-4 by winning eight of its final nine games.

Missoula goalie Aaron Schwartz, playing the final game of his senior season, made 18 saves.

Billings 2 1 0 - 3

Missoula 0 1 5 - 6

First period

B - Raymond Scherer (shorthanded) (Zane Barragree, Seth Gairrett), 11:26

B - Matthew Rose (power play) (Tristan Franzen), 15:28

Second period

B - Barragree (unassisted), 7:51

M - Castle Creighton (shorthanded (unassisted), 17:50

Third period

M - Creighton (unassisted), 3:48

M - Casey Higgins (Brett Mathews), 8:32

M - Cody Skilling (Brett Mathews, Cody Jahrig), 14:59

M - Higgins (Jeff Madison, Creighton), 16:35

M - Higgins (empty net) (unassisted), 17:09

Billings goalie - Kyle Dunnett, 28 saves.

Missoula goalie - Aaron Schwartz, 18 saves.

 

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