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Class A Girls Hockey State Championship: Warroad 3, Orono 1

Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2023 - 5:23 PM


Warroad captured consecutive Class A girls hockey championships for the first time in more than a decade with its 3-1 victory over No. 3 Orono on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul.

The top-seeded Warriors (26-3-1) built a two-goal margin through two periods of play and didn’t let up en route to a fourth Class A championship in seven combined title games. In 2011, the Warriors finished a two-year run with a combined 55-4-1 record and two small-school titles.

Warroad, whose only three losses of the season came to Class AA schools, outshot the Spartans (22-4-4) by a 25-14 margin. Kate Stephens made 13 saves to record the victory.

Warroad bumped its lead to 3-1 with 4:39 left in the second period following a breakaway by sophomore forward Kaiya Sandy. She scored her 15th goal of the season after getting behind the Orono defense and sliding a shot just inside the right post and under the pad of Orono senior goalie Celia Dahl.

Warroad took its second lead early in the second period on a goal from senior forward Talya Hendrickson. She scored her 38th goal of the season after being the recipient of a feed from teammate Kate Johnson, a senior forward, who had wheeled from behind the net and spotted her free. Hendrickson’s shot was a wrister into the upper left corner of the goal.

Orono climbed into a 1-all tie after one period behind a goal from sophomore forward Zoe Lopez. She scored her 38th goal of the season and third of the tournament off a whistling wrister from high between the circles.

Warroad opened the scoring with 9:55 left in the first period on a goal from senior forward Rylee Bartz. Following a quick transition in the neutral zone, Warroad found itself on a 2-on-1 break. As she motored down the left side, Bartz spotted an opening and fired a blast from the left circle for her 59th goal of the season and fifth of the tournament.

Third place: Bailey Vesper scored three goals, including the winner in overtime to send South St. Paul to a 3-2 victory over Proctor/Hermantown for the third-place trophy at the Xcel Energy Center. Her second goal forged a tie in the third period and created the need for overtime. She also opened the scoring for South St. Paul (23-6-1) in the first period. Hailey Jusilla and Morgan LaValley had the goals for Proctor/Hermantown (20-8-2).

Consolation: Mckenzie Keller scored three goals, including the winner midway through the third period, to help send Mankato East to a 4-3 victory over Fergus Falls in the consolation final at TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center. Senior goalie Annaliese Rader, the Class A Herb Brooks Award recipient, made 17 saves for the victorious Cougars (21-7-0). Madalyn Hunter had a goal and an assist for Fergus Falls (23-5-1).

Next Article

Mankato East's Annaliese Rader named 2023 Class A Herb Brooks Award Winner