Trek to the X continues on with section semifinals

Section 1AA

#8AA Northfield 2, Owatonna 1 OT

Top-seeded Northfield survived a scare against No. 4 Owatonna, who took the Raiders to overtime before Mia Miller netted the game winner to lift them to the section final where they will face No. 2 seed Lakeville South.

Miller’s second goal came a little over five minutes into overtime and was her second of the game and 21st of the season.

Owatonna was able to keep the state’s leading scorer, Ayla Puppe, off the board. Puppe did assist on Miller’s overtime goal, but otherwise was thwarted. The game winner came on a power play after a high-sticking penalty was called. Northfield outshot Owatonna 41-33, including 6-2 in overtime. Owatonna’s goal came off the stick of Avery Vetsch. Owatonna junior goalie Leah Spencer had 39 saves. Northfield’s Macy Mueller was also stellar in goal with 32 saves.

Claire Bronson leads the state with 13 shutouts and is tied with a .962 save percentage. She and the Cougars will take on Northfield for the Section 1AA title.

#12AA Lakeville South 3, Farmington 0

Once again senior goaltender Claire Bronson was the difference maker as she stopped 26 shots to earn her state-leading 13th shutout on the season. She made several key saves and the Lakeville South offense produced three goals, more than enough, to advance to the section final where they will meet up with top-seeded Northfield.

The game remained scoreless through two periods as Farmington netminder Addison Moudry was equally impressive, stopping 16 shots through the first two frames. The Cougars finally solved her when Lilly Hunst scored on a power play at 3:37 for a 1-0 lead. It stayed a 1-0 as both teams challenged each other’s goaltender. Lakeville South’s Sophia Kuhns made it 2-0 at the 10:53 mark on another power play and Brynn O’Neill added an empty netter to seal the win.

Bronson, who is a Jori Jones semifinalist, now has a .962 save percentage on the season and 0.90 goals against average.

The Cougars will face Northfield Thursday with the winner advancing to the state Class A tournament.

Section 2AA

Can anyone bring dow the No. 1 Skippers?

Top-ranked Minnetonka skated past New Prague 11-0 in the quarterfinals and will meet up with No. 4-seed Prior Lake tonight. The Skippers are 23-2-1 and have won nine in a row. They are led by Ms. Hockey Semifinalists Kendra Distad and Lindzi Avar. Avar leads the team with 49 points and Distad has 39. Lauren Mack has 47 points and senior defenseman Lauren Golkdsworthy is one of the top defenseman in the state with nine goals and 27 assists. She is headed to Minnesota State, Distad is slated for Minnesota and Avar is headed to Cornell. Mack, a junior, is committed to Providence.

Minnetonka’s talent and depth could prove troublesome for Prior Lake (13-12-1). The Lakers’ Olivia Hansen is a Jori Jones semifinalist with a .903 save percentage and 2.68 goals against average.

On the other side of the bracket is No. 2 seed Eden Prairie facing No. 3 seed Holy Family. The Eagles also have a strong goaltender in Tegan Swanson, also a Jori Jones semifinalist. The Eagles (13-12-1) rely on Swanson and a strong defense, holding opponents 2.29 goals per game. Swanson has a .925 save percentage and has faced 670 shots this season.

Holy Family (15-10-1) counters with an equally strong netminder in sophomore Kayla Swartout. Swartout has a .929 save percentage and four shutouts on the season to go with a 1.87 goals against average.

The two teams met each other Nov. 30 and skated to a 2-2 tie, which should make for a good section semifinal when they meet tonight at Braemar at 8 p.m. following the Minnetonka/Prior Lake game.

Section 3AA

Rosemount 4, #7AA Lakeville North 3 OT

So far Section 3AA could be dubbed the section of upsets. No. 7 Park of Cottage Grove knocked off No.2-seed Cretin- Derham Hall in the quarterfinals 3-1 and No. 4 Rosemount knocked off top-seeded Lakeville North 4-3 in the semifinals.

Rosemount took Lakeville North to overtime where Maggie Erickson scored the game winner to lift the Irish to the section finals. Rosemount won the section last season. Lakeville North led 3-1 on goals by Shay Swanson, Gracie Hanson and Addie Bowlby. It was Bowlby’s 45th goal on the season. She is a top 10 semifinalist for Ms. Hockey.

But Rosemount’s Cece Hanson scored a big goal near the end of the second period to close the gap to 3-2. It took 10 minutes into the third for Analee Holzer to score on a power play to tie it 3-3.

Lakeville North outshot the Irish 4-3 in overtime and 44-21 for the game. Rosemount senior goaltender Natalie Kendhammer stopped 41 shots to earn the victory. 

#20AA Apple Valley 3, Park of Cottage Grove 2

Park of Cottage Grove almost came away with another big upset in the semifinals against No. 2-seed Apple Valley. The Wolfpack took the Eagles deep into the game, tied at 2-2, when Apple Valley junior Makayla Moran scored the game winner with just 31 seconds left. It was Moran’s 38th goal of the season and second of the game.

The Wolfpack opened the scoring on a goal by Kyra Stofer. Apple Valley’s Avery Ryan tied it for a 1-1 tie after one. Moran gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead with a power play tally, but Park’s Maggie Jensen answered less than a minute later.

The Wolfpack outshot the Eagles 30-28. Apple Valley goalie Finley Engfer stopped 28 shots. Alayna Adamez stopped 25 for the Wolfpack, a youthful group with just five seniors who finished 9-17-1 and with a strong playoff showing that should build confidence heading into next season.

Apple Valley (16-9-2) advances to the section finals where they will try and unseat defending section champion Rosemount for a trip to state. The teams will meet Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights.

Section 4AA

Will it be a Hill-Murray/Stillwater section final? Both teams will have to get by tough opponents tonight to make that happen.

No. 2AA ranked Hill-Murray (22-3-1) rolled by St. Paul Highland Park 7-1 and will face longtime rival White Bear Lake in the Semifinals this evening.

The Pioneers have been led by a Ms. Hockey semifinalistChloe Boreen and Jori Jones Award semifinalist Grace Zhan in the net. Zhan has been one of the most difficult goalies to score on this season with a .946 SV%. She’s also has 5 shutouts on the year. Boreen has led the Pioneers in scoring with 50 points.

The Pioneers’ two-way threat could be difficult for White Bear Lake (15-10-1) to overcome. The Bears are led by Sophomore Madelyn Lee, who has scored 15-24-39 in 26 games.

Flipping to the other side of the bracket, Woodbury (20-4-2) shut out East Ridge 5-0 in the quarterfinals moving on to face Stillwater (17-8-1) in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Woodbury brings both scoring depth and good goaltending to the matchup against Stillwater. The Royals have six players with 20 or more points in their 26 games. Laini Gnetz is leading the way for the Royals with 31-20-51 in 26 games as a Sophomore.

Stillwater will bring in two award nominees with Josie St. Martin who’s a Ms. Hockey semifinalist with 60 points and Lily Timmons who’s a Jori Jones Award semifinalist holding a .912 Sv% and eight shutouts.

Stillwater and Woodbury faced off twice in January. On January 20 the Ponies beat Woodbury 6-0 and on Jan. 25 it was a 6-6 tie.

Section 5AA

Centennial/Spring lake Park goalie Kaitlin Groess has been tough to beat this season as she leads the Cougars into section playoffs.

No. 6AA Centennial/Spring Lake Park (23-1-2) stayed red hot, taking down Mounds View/Irondale 9-1. Centennial/SLP will face North Wright County today in the Semifinals. Centennial/SLP is led by their senior goalie Kaitlin Groess who’s a Jori Jones Award semifinalist with a .961 Sv% and seven shutouts.

North Wright County will have much on their hands against Centennial’s offense and stingy defense/goalie. CSLP has three players who have 30 or more points this season: Grace Laager, Teagan Kulenkamp, and Noelle Hemr.

North Wright County (12-14-0) moved past Roseville/Mahtomedi to advance to the semifinals. NWC. North Wright County and Centennial/SLP have faced off once on Nov. 18, when CSLP took down NWC 5-1.

On the other side of the bracket, Maple Grove (18-7-1) rolled by Osseo/Park Center 7-1 advancing to the semifinals against Champlin Park/Coon Rapids. The Crimson are led by Bella Shipley, who’s a Semifinalist for Ms. Hockey with 46 points. The Crimson are also strong in net with Jori Jones Award semifinalist Dani Strom who has a .945 Sv% and eight shutouts.

Champlin Park/Coon Rapids (16-8-2) matches up with their top scorer Lily McKenzie who also scored 46 points. They also bring good depth with three other forwards with over 20 points.

These two faced each other on Dec.5, when Maple Grove took down Champlin Park/Coon Rapids 5-3.

Section 6AA

Edina will look to bounce through sections and back to the state tournament in Section 6AA.

No. 5AA Edina (19-6-1) made easy work of Hopkins/St. Louis Park took them down 12-0 and outshot H/SLP 48-6.

Lorelai Nelson had a massive game scoring three goals and five assists for eight points, she now has 36 points in 26 games as a sophomore. Hannah Halverson scored her 25th goal of the year and added five assists on the night. Halverson is in the Top 10 semifinalists for Ms. Hockey.

Wayzata (7-17-2) took down Metro-South Phoenix 3-0 to advance to the semifinals. The Trojans have a lot on their plate with Edina’s fierce offensive attack. The Hornets won the regular season matchup 8-0 back on January 2.

On the other side of the bracket Benilde-St. Margaret’s (20-3-2) will face Robbinsdale Armstrong/Cooper (10-14-2). BSM was given a quarterfinal-round bye for being the top-seeded. Robbinsdale Armstrong/Cooper got goals from Abby Hanson, Lydia College, and Taylor Fruetel en route to their quarterfinal round 3-2 win over Bloomington Jefferson.

The Wings will try to halt the red-hot Red Knights when they face off on Wednesday. Benilde-St. Margaret’s last loss came on January 9, when they fell to Northfield 4-3. Elli Stewart (10-21-31) and Kendall Hassler (22-9-31) both lead the Red Knights in points.

Section 7AA

 

Cailin Mumm leads the Huskies into the section playoffs as they look to get back to state and back to the title game.

#3AA Andover 5, Anoka 1

Top-seeded Andover made easy work of Anoka, outshooting the Tornadoes 70-5 on their way to a 5-1 win.

The game was tied 1-1 after one period thanks in large part to the play of Gretchen Paaverud. Paaverud stopped 19 of 20 shots to keep Anoka in the game. She stopped 28 of 29 shots in the second period as well with Andover’s Mackenzie Jones scoring the lone goal for a 2-1 Huskies lead. Andover broke it open in the third period by getting three past Paaverud who stopped another 17 shots to finish with 65 saves. Paaverud, a Jori Jones Senior Goalie of the Year Award semifinalist, holds the all-time record for saves in a game when she stop 89 shots last season against Blaine.

Andover got a pair of goals from Hanna Olson to earn their 20th win of the season (20-4-3). They will advance to the section final against Grand Rapids/Greenway on Thursday.

#18AA Grand Rapids/Greenway 3, Blaine 2

No. 2-seed Grand Rapids/Greenway held on to defeat No. 3 Blaine 3-2. The Lightning got goals from Mira Rijala, Ryleigh Sherlock and Cali Madsen. Abbey Costa and Gracyn Knowles scored the Bengals who were outshot 37-24. Blaine goaltender Morgan Zenk had 34 saves. Grand Rapids/Greenway improved to 17-9-1 while Blaine finished their season 11-12-4.

Section 8AA

Moorhead leads the charge into Section 8AA as the top-seeded squad and will look to defeat rival Roseau to earn a trip to the state tournament.

No. 7AA Moorhead 5, Bemidji 1

After a scoreless first period, Moorhead found their offense scoring three unanswered in the second period en route to a 5-1 win over Bemidji. The Spuds will take on Roseau in the section final on Wednesday.

Moorhead outshot Bemidji 10-2 in the opening period, but Bemidji’s Payton Weidemann was sharp early. Moorhead finally netted the first goal of the game short-handed when Olivia Kortan scored on a rebound. This goal opened the floodgates, Taylor Brueske, and Lucey Wilson both followed Kortan’s goal with their own as Moorhead held a 3-0 lead. In the final frame, Moorhead added two more goals, the first on the power play from Ella Holm, and the other from Clara Bernstrom. Bemidji’s lone goal was off the blade of Millie Knot.

Despite not scoring a goal, Ms. Hockey semi-finalist Kate Kosobud made an impact, adding two assists. She now has a stat line of 10-26-36 in 27 games.

Roseau 3, Brainerd/Little Falls 2

Roseau (17-10-0) remains hot, taking down Brainerd/Little Falls 3-2 in the semifinals. The Rams have now won six straight going back to their win against Brainerd/LF on Jan. 20.

Roseau scored a late first-period goal from Jasmine Hovda as they took a 1-0 lead into the second period. Hovda is Roseau’s top scorer with 21 goals and 34 assists for 55 points as a sophomore.

After a Peyton LeMieur goal for Brainerd/Little Falls, Kylie Bjerk scored on the power play to give the Rams the lead back at 2-1. It was a similar third period to the second, starting with a tying goal from Brynn Thoma for Brainerd, and ending with a go-ahead and game-winning goal from Jerrett Tietz.

The section 8AA final will be the third time this season these two teams have played each other. Moorhead has taken down Roseau in both meetings, the first 5-1 on Dec. 12, and the second by a score of 3-2 on Jan. 18. Moorheads’ fast-paced offense has proved troublesome for Roseau this year, but the Rams are peeking at the right time.