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Class A Semifinal roundup

Top two seeds, Warroad and Breck, to skate for state title on Saturday

Tim Kolehmainen / Breakdown Sports USA

Top two seeds, Warroad and Breck, to skate for state title on Saturday

No. 2 Breck vs. Proctor/Hermantown

Breck’s Olivia Mobley (Tim Kolehmainen / Breakdown Sports USA)

The Breck Mustangs galloped their way to a 6-0 win over the Proctor/Hermantown Mirage on Friday to advance to  Saturday’s Class A Championship Game.

Breck’s depth was too much for the Mirage to handle, as eight different players appeared on the score sheet for the Mustangs.

“Yeah it was nice to see the theme continue,” Breck coach Rhonda Engelhardt said. “I think it helps when we have each line as a threat. We can just keep rolling everybody and everybody can stay fresh and work hard. We started to getting our stride, it was multiple people scoring, we don’t have to rely on one person to help us get those points.”

Breck got off to a fast start. Within the game’s first eight minutes, they fired 10 shots on net – while also not allowing a shot on goal. Eventually their hard work paid off as freshman Emily Zumwinkle netted the game’s first goal, with assists going to Gabby Billing and Olivia Mobley. By the end of the first period, Breck had outshot Proctor/Hermantown 17-1.

After being heavily outplayed in the first period, the Mirage looked like they started to figure things out. They drew a power play 12-seconds into the second period and fired plenty of pucks on net but weren’t able to score. They ended up taking a penalty and the Mustangs capitalized with sophomore Ashley Halverson netting a power-play goal to make it 2-0. Shortly after Halverson’s goal, she fed Zumwinkle to the front of the net and the freshman had her second goal of the game as Breck took a three-goal lead.

“I couldn’t have done those goals without my teammates,” Zumwinkle said following her performance. “They made awesome passes on all of them. It’s an awesome feeling being at the state tournament because it’s our first time in six years and I think we all just worked really hard to get here and it’s an exciting moment.”

As the period winded down, the Mustangs added another to their tally when eighth grader Shae Messner crashed the net and Breck lit the lamp for the fourth time.

They would add two more goals in the final period of regulation, with Mobley and Luci McGlynn finishing the scoring for the Mustangs.

Although Hermantown fell short of their goal of a state championship, senior Kennedy Halverson is extremely proud of her team’s effort.

“Well it was kind of like a dream come true,” Halverson said. “A lot of people underestimated us and didn’t think we’d make it to this point. And I don’t think we played a bad hockey game today, I just don’t think we played our regular game. We worked hard and I’m incredibly proud of our team no matter the outcome.”

No. 1 Warroad vs. Alexandria

Warroad’s Genevieve Hendrickson (Tim Kolehmainen / Breakdown Sports USA)

The Warroad Warriors are no strangers to the state tournament.

It’s their ninth appearance in the tourney since 2006 and they’ll have a chance to claim their third Class A championship in this decade – but their first since 2011 – after their 7-1 win over the Alexandria Cardinals.

“This group hasn’t played in one,” Warroad coach David Marvin said. “So it’ll be fun and it’s exciting for them; they’ve worked really hard. We know what it’s like to lose the semi-final game the last couple years. The early games on Saturday’s not much fun. Sometimes you got to fail before you succeed, I guess.”

Warroad entered play having recorded shutout in six of their last seven games. Yet that didn’t matter for Alexandria, as they got on the board first when freshman Anna Doherty found the back of the net, with assists going to McKenna Ellingson and Allison O’Kane. But their lead wouldn’t last long as Hannah Corneliusen tied things up for the Warriors. It was Corneliusen’s 39th goal of the season.

It looked like a troublesome situation for Alexandria in the early stages of the second period as they drew two penalties for, too many players and hooking which gave the Warriors a 5-on-3 advantage for two minutes. However, Cardinals netminder Hailee Bailey stood tall making a barrage of saves and the team was able to kill off the penalty.

Shortly after they returned to even strength, freshman Genevieve Hendrickson streaked in a on a breakaway and beat Bailey giving Warroad a 2-1 lead. In the closing minutes of the second frame, the Warriors were able to convert on the power play when defenseman Kaitlyn Kotlowski ripped a shot from the top of the point and Warroad had led 3-1

In the final minute of the period, the Warriors drew another penalty with Corneliusen scoring seven-seconds into the man-advantage for her second goal of the game and the team skated into the second intermission up 4-1.

Despite the time off between periods, Warroad didn’t skip a beat in the third with Hendrickson, Tiffani Foster and Kotlowski netting goals in a five-minute span and securing the win.

Losing to powerhouse like Warroad can sometimes humble a losing team, but Alexandria head coach Molly Arola wasn’t pleased one bit with her team’s play.

“It was just having some issues between our ears tonight and in our heart,” Arola said. “And we weren’t able to bring our “A game” physically or mentally.”

Despite the Warriors nearly averaging six goals per game, Marvin envisions the title game being a more sound hockey game.

“Well I would bet it’d be lower scoring,” predicted Marvin. “Because they got a good goaltender – and actually they got two; I’m not sure who will play for them – and we have a good goaltender. It was lower scoring when we played them earlier in the year which seems like a long time ago now. I think it should be fun, it will be a hard-fought contest.”

With Warroad’s win they’ll meet Breck for the Class A State Championship on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Declan Goff graduated from St. Cloud State University in 2015 where he covered the Huskies men's hockey team. Since graduating, Declan has made stops with BringMeTheNews and 1500-ESPN. Although he's an alum of SCSU, make sure to ask him about his favorite hockey team growing up, as it rhymes with the Golden Gophers... Which (for whatever reason) is something he rarely talks about.

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