Orono punched their ticket to state with a win over Mound Westonka/Southwest Christian.

No. 1 seeds have fallen in three of five finals so far 

Having the No. 1 seed in sections hasn’t proven to be much of advantage through five section final games in girls hockey. Three of the five top seeds have failed to advance, giving credence to the depth and parity of quality teams in each section. On Tuesday top-seeded Fergus Falls advanced to state in Section 6A. Just a four-team section, the Otters had to win just twice.

On Wednesday, top-seeded Moorhead head a 3-1 lead entering the third period against No. 2 Roseau. But the Rams scored four straight goals to defeat their northern rival 5-4.

In Section 3AA, top-seeded Lakeville North was bumped off in the semifinals by Rosemount, who turned around and ,as the No. 4 seed, handled No. 2-seed Apple Valley 6-1 to advance to their second straight state tournament.

In Section 3A No. 2 Luverne upended top-seeded Marshall 4-0.

In Section 7A, Duluth Marshall held the top seed, but No. 2  Proctor/Hermantown has held the keys in the section as defending champions and defeated the Hilltoppers 4-0.

Top-seeded Orono was the other No. 1-seeded team who got through to state by beating No. 2 Mound Westonka/Southwest Christian 5-1. Orono finished second at last year’s state tournament.

Seven more section final games will be played tonight:

Class A

Section 1A: #1 Dodge County vs. #2 Simley

Section 2A: #1 River Lakes vs. #2 Willmar

Section 4A: #1 Academy of Holy Angels vs. #2 South St. Paul

Section 8A: #1 Warroad vs. #2 Crookston

Class AA

Section 1AA: #1 Northfield vs. #2 Lakeville South

Section 4AA: #1 Hill-Murray vs. #2 Stillwater

Section 5AA: #1 Centennial/Spring Lake Park vs. #2 Maple Grove

Section 7AA: #1 Andover vs. #2 Grand Rapids/Greenway

Friday Night Finals:

Class AA

Section 2AA: #1 Minnetonka vs. #3 Holy Family

Section 5AA: #1 Centennial/Spring Lake Park vs. #2 Maple Grove

Section 6AA: #1 Benilde-St. Margaret’s vs. #2 Edina

Wednesday’s Section Results:

Section 8AA

#2 Roseau 5, #1 Moorhead 4

Roseau scored four goals in the third period to upset top-seeded Moorhead in the Section 8AA final Wednesday night in Thief River Falls.

Moorhead led 3-1 after two periods when Roseau went on a rampage, scoring four goals, including three in a span of 2:35.

Moorhead senior Ella Holm had the lone goal of the first period, her 20th of the season, for a 1-0 Spuds lead. Fellow senior Taylor Brueske scored less than a minute into the second for a 2-0 lead and it looked as though Moorhead was on their way. Roseau’s Payton Remick got the Rams back within one with a goal 3:19 into the frame, but Moorhead’s Madi Hanson scored a few minutes later for a 3-1 lead as the Spuds controlled play throughout much of the period, outshooting the Rams 13-6.

Madi Hanson scored Wednesday to help Moorhead get out to a 3-1 lead, but Roseau stormed back to win 5-4 in the Section 8AA final. LPH PHOTO BY JACKSON BOLINE

But the Rams charged out of the gate in the third. Jasmine Hovda scored at 3:43 to make it 3-2. She added another at 13:56 to tie the game 3-3. On her next shift she assisted on a goal by Karina Christianson to give Roseau a 4-3 lead with just 1:39 left in the game. Moorhead was forced to pull goaltender Taylor Kressin for an extra attacker, but Roseau took advantage with Lily Erickson firing in an empty netter for a 5-3 lead with just 31 seconds to play.

Brueske was able to score 17 seconds later, but just 12 seconds remained, not enough for the Spuds to counter the four-goal outburst from the Rams.

Moorhead outshot Roseau 31-22, including 12-10 in the final period. Roseau netminder Jada Pelowski stopped 27 shots to earn the win.

The Rams’ win avenged their loss to the Spuds in last year’s section final and ended Moorhead’s 14-game win streak. Moorhead finishes this season with an impressive 24-3-1 record. They will graduate just five seniors who were key players responsible for a lot of their scoring.  Holm (20-25-45), Brueske (13-20-33), Madi Hanson  (9-13-22) and Kate Kosobud (10-28-38) will all graduate. Kosobud, a defenseman and Ms. Hockey Semifinalist, will be a Gopher. The Spuds will bring back their leading scorer in Olivia Kortan who had an outstanding season with 23 goals and 37 assists for 60 points in 28 games.

Roseau improved to 18-10-0. They are led by Hovda, a sophomore who had two huge goals in this game and now has 23 goals and 35 assists on the season. Remick leads the team with 25 goals and Erickson has 19 goals and 16 assists. The Rams have used two goaltenders most of the season with Pelowski sharing the crease with Madi Lisell.

The Class AA state tournament begins Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Xcel Energy Center.

Section 3AA

#4 Rosemount 6, #2 Apple Valley 1

The Irish punched their second straight ticket to state with a convincing 6-1 win over Apple Valley. Rosemount had played Apple Valley twice earlier this season, losing 4-0 on Dec. 7 and tying 4-4 on Jan. 20.

So in their third match up it was only fitting for Rosemount to get the win to even the season series. Luckily for them this was a game that thrust them into the Class AA state tournament. They improved to 14-9-2 with the win. Last season, as the No. 2 seed, they defeated Cretin-Derham Hall in the section final. They had a tough draw in the state quarterfinal and lost 9-0 to Andover. They defeated Lakeville North in the consolation bracket before losing to Moorhead in the consolation final.

The Irish have strong scoring depth with four players scoring 30-plus points. Aubrey Hansen (15-15-30), CeCe Hanson (15-19-34), Sophie Stramel (14-20-34) and Annalee Holzer (22-16-38) lead the offense. Junior defenseman Zoe Juncker leads the blueline with 24 assists.

Apple Valley ends their season with a 16-10-2 record. They will graduate just two seniors and bring back leading scorer Makayla Moran who had 38 goals and 28 assists as a junior this season.

Section 3A

Goaltender Vivienne Anderson and the Orono Spartans will return to the state tournament with hopes of avenging their loss in the title game last year to Warroad. LPH PHOTO BY JACKSON BOLINE

#1 Orono 5, #2 Mound Westonka/Southwest Christian 1

Orono started the season as the early favorites to not just get back, but to win it. After finishing runner up at state a year ago, the Spartans have yearned for this time of year when they could avenge their loss to state champion Warroad.

They took another step closer to their goal Wednesday with a 5-1 win over No. 2-seed Mound Westonka/Southwest Christian to advance to the state tournament.

Orono, under new leadership this season with Paul Antonenko behind the bench, scored twice in the first and twice in the second to catapult themselves to a comfortable 4-0 lead. Grace Bickett, a strong senior defenseman who has racked up 40 points (9-31-40), got the Spartans on board just 1:34 into the game. Gabi Lopez assisted on the goal and then scored at the 13:24 mark for a 2-0 lead. Zoe Lopez and Alex Christian scored second-period goals to make it 4-0.

The Whitehawks, who have been a top 10 team in the Class A rankings most of the season, got a goal from Claire Bolen to make it 4-1. But that was all they could muster as Orono controlled play. Maddy Kinbrel added her 25th goal for the Spartans who improved to 20-6-1.

The Whitehawks finished their season 18-8-1. They will graduate six players, including leading scorers Greer Hardacre (21-19-40) and Camryn Hargreaves (17-22-39).

Orono enters the state tournament with a plethora of skill and depth. They have three 40-point players ‑  Zoe Lopez, Bickett and Kimbrel – and Macy Rasmussen is a junior defenseman committed to Ohio State and has 32 points as a blueliner. Freshman netminder Vivienne Anderson has been strong in goal with a .930 save percentage and 1.56 goals against average.

Section 7A

#2 Proctor/Hermantown 4, #1 Duluth Marshall 0

The Mirage continued their dominance in Section 7A with a repeat win over Duluth Marshall Wednesday, 4-0. The win comes a year after the Mirage defeated the Hilltoppers 5-4 to advance to the 2023 state tournament where they finished fourth.

The Mirage dominated in this year’s final, outshooting the Hilltoppers 59-23, including 24-5 in the first period. Fortunately for the Hilltoppers, junior goalie Ray Anderson kept the game close by stopping the first 40 shots she faced through two periods of scoreless action. Proctor/Hermantown goalie Neelah McLeod did her part in keeping Duluth Marshall and one of the state’s top scorers, Ilsa Lindaman (57 goals), off the board.

The Mirage finally solved Anderson when Taylee Manion scored on a power play at the 1:54 mark of the third period. Katie Sandelin followed up with another power play goal at 7:39 for a 2-0 lead.

Duluth Marshall was still well within striking distance with half a period to play but Izy Fairchild put the Mirage up 3-0 with just over two minutes left. Morgan LaValley added an insurance goal late for the 4-0 win.

Duluth Marshall finished their season with an impressive 22-4-1 mark. Lindaman, who is headed to play college hockey at the University of St. Thomas and is a Ms. Hockey Semifinalist, finished the season with 57 goals and 86 points. They will graduate four seniors off a small varsity roster.

The Mirage will return to the Xcel Center where they have been regulars for the past several years. They are 18-8-2 and led by Fairchild who leads the team with 24 goals and 44 points.

Section 6AA Semifinal

#1 Benilde-St. Margaret’s 8, #4 Robbinsdale Armstrong/Cooper 0

Lizzy Hamel and Kendall Hassler each scored twice to lead the Red Knights to an 8-0 win over Armstrong/Cooper. Ella Pasqua added three assists and Kaeli Koopman added a goal and two assists as the Red Knights improved to 21-3-2.

They will face Edina in the section final on Friday at Parade Ice Garden.

#2 Edina 8, #3 Wayzata 0

The Hornets improved to 20-6-1 with a 8-0 win over Wayzata to advance to Friday’s section final against top-seeded Benilde-St. Margaret’s. The two teams met in the section semifinals last year where the Hornets won 5-1 on their

Puck drop for the section final at Parade Ice Garden is 7 p.m.way to the state tournament after defeating top-seeded Blake 4-0 in the section final.