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2015 Girls' State Tournament

Skippers blank Huskies

Keller scores twice to lead Tonka over Andover

Minnetonka’s Kippen Keller spins away from Andover’s Ellen Bruesch in the Skippers’ 5-0 Class 2A quarterfinal win over the Huskies on Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center.(MHM Photo / Tim Kolehmainen)

Keller scores twice to lead Tonka over Andover

[ Box Score ] | [ Game Sheet ]

SAINT PAUL – Left wing Kippin Keller, a former member of the Benilde-St. Margaret Red Knights, is no stranger to the state tournament. As an underclassman, Keller and the Knights made a trip to the state final. But now as an upperclassman, she hoped her state tournament experience could provide leadership opportunities at state in 2015.

And Keller is off to a strong start in her new role with Minnetonka.

Keller scored two goals in Minnetonka’s 5-0 victory over the Andover Huskies in the Class 2A girls’ state hockey quarterfinals at the Xcel Energy Center. The Skippers will play the winner of the Lakeville South-Blaine game, on Friday at 8 pm.

In her first state game as a Skipper, Keller enjoyed herself as a leader.

“I think it went well,” Keller said. “I think the team helps out a lot. Presley [Norby], my linemate having her there and this team is always grinding and going 100 percent, so it is really fun to play with them.”

Minnetonka didn’t make the trip to the Xcel Energy Center last year after winning the state championship in 2013, so Keller helped speed up the re-acclimation process.

Minnetonka peppered Andover goaltender Cassidy Stumo all night while limiting the Huskies to just four shots on goal in Thursday's win. (MHM Photo / Tim Kolehmainen)

Minnetonka peppered Andover goaltender Cassidy Stumo all night while limiting the Huskies to just four shots on goal in Thursday’s win. (MHM Photo / Tim Kolehmainen)

After Andover goaltender Cassidy Stumo deflected the initial shot, Keller came from behind and knocked the puck in as it sat in the crease. And just two minutes later, Skipper Emma Bigham took the puck and went five-hole on Stumo, giving Minnetonka a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

While the Skippers often found success on offense, the Huskies couldn’t say the same. The Huskies’ struggled to muster anything offensively all game. With only four shots through three periods, Andover didn’t even register a shot in the third period.

“Our plan was to try and control the puck and work it into the offensive end,” Minnetonka head coach Eric Johnson said. “They were clogging up the middle in the neutral zone and in their own defensive zone. We wanted to move the puck around the perimeter, but then eventually get it to the net.”

Keller not only provided her team a strong start in the game, but also the state tournament, allowing her team to re-adjust to the state atmosphere in pursuit of another championship.

“I definitely wanted to get ahead because everyone can settle down and take a deep breath and relax,” Keller said. “Just having a good start, you know you can have a good game and not get frustrated.”

Nick is a Preps writer for the Minnesota Hockey Magazine. He also is a reporter for the Star Tribune sports hubs and a staff writer at the SB Nation Steelers site, Nick is the Editor-in-Chief of the LNHS North Star and hosts the weekly podcast, "Prep Sports North." Follow Nick on Twitter: @NickKellyLNHS

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