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Girls Hockey takes center stage for 2022 state tournament

Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2022 - 9:44 AM

Girls Hockey takes center stage this week when the annual Minnesota State High School League State Tournament is played over four days at two venues in St. Paul.

The quarterfinals, semifinals, third place and championship games in two enrollment classes will be played at the Xcel Energy Center beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Consolation-bracket games will be played a short distance away at TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center.

Here is a look at the schedule and quarterfinal matchups:

Class A

Wednesday, Feb. 23

·      Mankato East (21-5) vs. No. 2 Orono (24-3), 11 a.m. --- Mankato East returns for the first time since 2019 and fourth time overall. The Cougars, the Section 2A champions, are powered by first-liners, junior McKenzie Keller (37 goals, 24 assists), sophomore Jess Eykin (27-23—50) and eighth-grader Ava Tibodeau (18-9---27). Junior Kailey Newton has chipped in 32 points. Orono won the Section 5A crown by racing past Holy Angels in the section final. Senior center Lyla Ryskamp has 42 goals and 41 assists while sophomore Alexa Niccum has 30 goals and 46 assists for the Spartans.

·      Albert Lea (14-10-1) vs. No. 3 Proctor/Hermantown (19-7-1), 1 p.m. --- Albert Lea won the Section 1A crown by collectively outscoring Winona and Austin 13-2 in the semifinals and final, respectively. It will be the state tournament debut for the Tigers, who are 35-32-1 in three years under coach Mark Goskeson. Proctor/Hermantown is the defending Class A champion. The Mirage score an average of four goals per game and surrender 1.3. It is the seventh state tournament trip for Proctor/Hermantown.

·      River Lakes (16-12) vs. No. 1 Warroad (23-3-1), 6 p.m. --- River Lakes, a co-op that includes student participants from Albay, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Eden-Valley Watkins, New London-Spicer, Paynesville, Rocori and St. John’s Prep, is making its second consecutive state tournament trip. Senior center Kianna Roeske has 28 goals and 23 assists while freshman linemate Sophia Hess has 22 goals and 24 assists. Warroad is the favorite in the Class A field. In 16 years leading the Warriors, head coach David Marvin has a 366-71-19 record. Junior Talya Hendrickson has 32 goals and 51 assists while linemate Kate Johnson, a junior, has 45 goals and 36 assists. The Warriors are seeking their third state championship.

·      No. 5 Luverne (23-3) vs. No. 4 South St. Paul (15-10-2), 8 p.m.  --- Luverne, the Section 3A champion, is making its third consecutive state tournament appearance. The Cardinals kept that state tournament trip string alive with a 3-2 victory in overtime over New Ulm in the section final. Luverne’s first line has compiled 263 points this season. Junior Kamryn Van Batavia has 78 goals and 44 assists (122), senior Reghan Bork (34-45—83), and freshman Payton Behr (22-36---58).  South St. Paul is perhaps the most storied high school program in Minnesota girls hockey history. The Packers are making their 16th state tournament and seeking their fourth crown. Packers head coach Dave Palmquist is the only remaining coach from the inaugural 1994-95 season. South St. Paul is 15-1-1 when scoring first this season.

Class AA

Thursday, Feb. 24

·      Northfield (19-5-3) vs. No. 2 Edina (25-2), 11 a.m. --- Northfield, the Section 1AA champion, is making its third state tournament trip and first since 2017. The Raiders average 4.3 goals per game and are sparked by first-line center Ayla Puppe, a sophomore, who had 39 goals and 30 assists and sophomore Emerson Garlie, who has 26 goals and 20 assists. Senior goalie Maggie Malecha has a 1.42 goals-against average. Edina is the defending big-school champion. The Hornets are backstopped by junior Uma Corniea, arguably the best goalie in the tournament. She has a 0.82 goals-against average and a .960 save percentage. Edina is seeking its fifth championship in the past six seasons.

·      Burnsville (22-5-1) vs. No. 3 Minnetonka (22-6-0), 1 p.m. --- Burnsville, making its eighth state tournament appearance, averages nearly five goals per game. Leading that point production is senior Zoie Dundon, who has 16 goals and 35 assists. Linemate Katie Katzmarek, a senior center, has a team-best 34 goals to go with 12 assists. Minnetonka is coached by Tracy Cassano, who formerly coached Burnsville. At Minnetonka, she has led the Skippers to a 56-16-4 mark in three seasons. Junior right wing Grace Sadura has 21 goals and 29 assists to pace the Skippers.

·      Brainerd (17-11-0) vs. No. 1 Andover (27-0-0), 6 p.m. --- Brainerd is on a five-game winning streak entering the state tournament and has also posted eight shutouts this season. The Warriors are 13-2-0 when scoring first this season. Andover has one loss over the past two seasons and that was to Edina in the 2021 Class AA championship game. The Huskies average 5.4 goals per game while surrendering less than a goal per game. Junior center Ella Boerger leads the way with 28 goals and 40 assists. Junior Madison Brown has 23 goals and 33 assists, while junior Isa Goettl is close behind with 25 goals and 26 assists.

·      No. 5 Gentry Academy (22-6-0) vs. No. 4 Maple Grove (20-6-2), 8 p.m. --- Gentry Academy earned its second consecutive state tournament berth with a 4-3 victory over Hill-Murray in two overtimes in the section final. The Stars average 5.4 goals per game this season. Junior Cara Sajevic leads the way with 49 goals and 26 assists. The Stars enter the state tournament on a 10-game winning streak. Maple Grove, the Section 5AA champion, is in the state tournament for the fourth time. The Crimson are skilled at closing out victories as they are 19-1-2 holding a lead going into the third period. Junior left wing Stella Retrum leads a balanced attack with 31 goals and 26 assists. Linemate Bella Shipley, a sophomore right wing, has 14 goals and 34 assists.

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