Feb. 17, 2003
CONTACT: Skip Peltier or Howard W. Voigt / MSHSL
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Girls’ Hockey Tournament
South St. Paul returns to defend Class AA
Three teams make first appearances
The State Girls’ Hockey Tournament will be played in two classes for the second time this year. South St. Paul returns to defend its 2002 title in the eight-team Class AA field, while a new champion will emerge in Class A. Three teams are making their first appearances: Elk River Area, Eden Prairie, and North of North St. Paul.
This is the ninth state tournament and will feature 12 teams, eight in Class AA and four in Class A. Only four teams competed in the 1995 and 1996 state tournaments, and eight teams competed from 1997 through 2001. This year 123 teams competed during the regular season, compared to 121 teams last year. There were 120 teams in the 2000-01 season, 112 in the 1999-2000 season, 98 teams during the 1998-99 season, 83 teams during the 1997-98 season, 67 teams during the 1996-97 season, 47 teams during the 1995-96 season, and 24 during the inaugural season.
Class AA Quarterfinal Highlights
Apple Valley (20-6-1) vs. Elk River Area (25-2-1) — 2:00 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20: The Eagles of Apple Valley return to the tournament after a four-year absence. This is their third overall appearance, having won titles in the inaugural 1995 tournament and again in 1998. They were not ranked in this year’s final poll. The only other tournament team the Eagles faced in the regular season was Eden Prairie and they lost that game 2-0. As a team Apple Valley scored 98 goals and had 128 assists during the regular season. Their opponents scored 38 goals on 384 attempts. Senior Anne Schema led her team with 30 goals and 18 assists during the regular season. Junior Megan Palmer was the second-leading scorer with 16 goals and 17 assists. Juniors Jenna Scanlon and Erin Downey added 12 and 11 goals for the Eagles, respectively. Sophomore Jessica Ptachick is the top goalie for Apple Valley. She finished with a 14-4-1 record and allowed only 25 goals. Her save percentage is 92 percent. The Elks of Elk River Area, who were ranked No. 2 in the final Let’s Play Hockey poll, are making their first tournament appearance. During the regular season the Elks defeated Cloquet/Esko/Carlton 4-3 and they split a two-game series with Anoka, winning the first game 5-4 and then later losing 2-1. This year’s team was led by junior Jessica Pullar who had 41 goals and 22 assists during the regular season. Sophomore Amy Plude added 18 goals and 17 assists, and junior Anya Miller had 16 goals and 15 assists. Junior Millissa Smith and senior Rachael Carter share the goaltending duties for the Elks. Smith went 14-0 during the regular season, allowing 23 goals, and Carter went 11-2, while allowing only 10 goals.
Eden Prairie (21-5-2) vs. Owatonna (20-8-0) — 7:00 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20: The Eagles of Eden Prairie are making their first state tournament appearance. They finished at No. 9 in the final Let’s Play Hockey poll. Sophomore Megan McCarthy was the leading scorer for the Eagles. She had 28 goals and 24 assists during the regular season. Ninth-grader Megan Pezon added 17 goals and four assists, while senior Tera Morris added 16 goals and 17 assists. Senior goalie Kristin Setterstrom went 20-5 during the regular season and made 450 saves while only allowing 26 goals. The Eagles faced North of North St. Paul and Apple Valley during the regular season, losing to North 4-3 and beating Apple Valley 2-0. The unranked Huskies of Owatonna return after a one-year hiatus to make their third overall appearance. This season they scored 142 goals while holding their opponents to 63. They also had 121 assists to their opponents’ 51. Seniors Lindsay Macy and Ashley Jenkins combined for 87 goals and 51 assists. Macy had 28 goals and 59 assists, while Jenkins tallied 28 goals and 21 assists. Macy is the all-time leading scorer for the Huskies with 285 goals and 121 assists in 150 games. Junior Cassie Knopp was the third-leading scorer. She finished with 14 goals and 14 assists. Ninth-grader Emily Belmore is the top netminder for Owatonna. She went 17-8-0 during the regular season and she has a 91.7 save percentage. Head coach Tim Hunst was named Section 1 Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2002, and assistant coach Joel Tornell was Section 1 Assistant Coach of the Year in 2001. During the regular season Owatonna lost to South St. Paul 6-4.
North, North St. Paul (22-6-0) vs. South St. Paul (28-0-0) — 9:00 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20: South St. Paul defeated North twice during the season, winning the first game 3-2 and winning the second game 4-3. The Polars of North, North St. Paul, are making their first tournament appearance and were ranked No. 7 in the final Let’s Play Hockey poll. During the regular season they also defeated Eden Prairie 4-3. As a team the Polars scored 121 goals and had 171 assists while holding their opponents to 44 goals. They also scored on 14 of 72 power-play opportunities. The team was the academic champion in Section 3AA and also won the statewide honor. Ninth-grader Allie Thunstrom was the leading scorer for North. She scored 28 goals and added 23 assists during 28 regular-season games. Senior Brittany Wiger was the second-leading scorer with 19 goals and 30 assists. Wiger, whose father is state senator Chuck Wiger, will play for Minnesota State-Mankato next year. Junior Jenny Schmidt added 14 goals and 19 assists, and ninth-grader Caitlin Hogan finished with 14 goals and 14 assists. Senior Emily Nierenhausen will play for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls next season. Junior Christina Thompson is the top goalie for North. She went 21-6-0 during the regular season and her save percentage is 90 percent. Head coach Terry Magill was named 2001-02 Section 3 Coach of the Year. The Packers of South St. Paul, who were ranked No. 1 in the final Let’s Play Hockey poll, return to defend their 2002 title, riding a 55-game winning streak. This is their third consecutive and fifth overall tournament appearance. In addition to splitting the regular-season series with North, the Packers also defeated Owatonna 6-4 and Cloquet/Esko/Carlton 3-2. During the regular season South St. Paul scored 184 goals and 254 assists on 978 shots. They scored on 37 percent of their power-play opportunities, and their penalty kill was at 90 percent. The Packers had four players who scored more than 22 goals during the regular season: sophomore Maggie Fisher led the team with 37 goals and 40 assists; junior Amanda Stohr scored 34 goals and 35 assists; sophomore Ashley Young added 25 goals and 32 assists; and sophomore Felicia Nelson finished with 22 goals and 21 assists. Junior goalie Sarah Crnobrna went 22-0-0 on the regular season and allowed only 32 goals. Her save percentage is 88.45 percent.
Class A Semifinal Highlights
In Class AA, the consolation semifinal games will be played at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 21. The championship semifinal games will be played at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. that same day. The consolation championship will take place at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, at Mariucci Arena, and the third-place game will be conducted on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 4:00 p.m. The championship game will be played at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22.
All games will be played at the new Ridder Arena on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis, except for the Class AA consolation championship which will be played at Mariucci Arena. Tickets for the 2003 State Girls’ Hockey Tournament will be available one hour before each afternoon or evening two-game session at the respective venues. Tickets cost $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for students for all championship sessions, and $8.00 for adults and $6.00 for students for all consolation sessions.
Both the Class A and Class AA championship games will be broadcast live on KMSP TV, Fox 9.
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Credentials are required for this tournament. Jil Fiemeyer will be the media steward on site. Photographers who want bench access must fax requests to Ellen Giloy at the League office, 763-569-0499 or see Mrs. Fiemeyer on site at least two hours prior to each session. Tournament results will be posted on the League Web site — www.mshsl.org.