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Mustangs girls hockey team cruises into playoff opener
During the regular season, the Mounds View High School girls hockey team faced Woodbury twice, winning one close contest and taking the other in a blowout. Their third and final meeting of the 2016-17 season took place last weekend in the first round of the playoffs and once again the result went the Mustangs’ way.
Mounds View scored four and a half minutes into the game and added a second first-period goal about five minutes later. That would turn out to be more than enough scoring as the second-seeded Mustangs held Woodbury, the No. 7 seed, to 10 shots on goal in a 5-0 victory in the Section 4AA quarterfinals on Feb. 11 at Aldrich Arena.
Sophomore goalie Teagen Johnson wasn’t tested all that often but made all the saves to earn her fifth shutout of the season. Meanwhile, Mounds View (18-8) peppered Woodbury netminder Erica Gillen with 33 shots.
Hana Collins got the Mustangs on the board at 4:29 of the first period and Rachel Anderson made it 2-0 Mounds View at 9:25. Mounds View finished the first period with 15 shots on goal.
Anna Solheim scored the only goal of the second period and it was unassisted. In the third, Grace Sventek and Lauren Jahnke found the back of the net for Mounds View.
Solheim, Jahnke and Sventek also picked up assists in the game to finish with two points each. Also recording points with single assists were Laney Wolter, Stephanie Anderson and Lisa Nadeau.
The victory sends Mounds View to the section semifinals on Feb. 14 at Aldrich Arena against another familiar foe. Third-seeded White Bear Lake and the Mustangs square off in the post-season for the second consecutive year and also in the same round. Mounds View beat the Bears 2-0 in last year’s section semifinals.
Mounds View won the two regular-season meetings between the longtime foes. Win No. 1 was a 1-0, overtime victory on Dec. 15. Rachel Anderson scored the only goal of the game off an assist from Annika Brodt. Johnson made 18 saves in what was her second shutout of the season while the Mustangs finished with 43 shots on goal.
The return match was Jan. 21 and Mounds View came away with a 4-2 victory in that one. Anderson scored a pair of unassisted goals and Mounds View also got scores from Audrey Jackson and Kaiya Quam. Johnson made 27 saves as the Mustangs were outshot 29-27.
The other semifinal on Feb. 14 features No. 1 seed Hill-Murray taking on fifth-seeded Roseville. In the quarterfinals, the Pioneers rolled to a 6-1 win over eighth-seeded Irondale/St. Anthony while Roseville steamrolled fourth-seeded Stillwater 7-2.
The two semifinal winners play for the section championship and a berth in the state tournament on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. at Aldrich Arena. Hill-Murray is the four-time defending section champion.
The Knights faced quite the uphill climb in their Section 4AA quarterfinal against Hill-Murray. The top-seeded and second-ranked Pioneers entered the game having lost just four times during the regular season and riding a 10-game winning streak in section-playoff games.
Despite the overwhelming odds, Irondale went toe-to-toe with Hill-Murray for one period. The Knights and Pioneers were deadlocked at 1-1 after the first 17 minutes but Hill-Murray took over after that and rolled to a 6-1 victory.
Hill-Murray remained on track for its fifth consecutive trip to the state tournament while Irondale saw its season come to an end.
In the first period, Hill-Murray held a 12-8 advantage in shots on goal as Irondale senior goaltender Hannah Rupp turned way 11 of the Pioneers’ shots. Irondale also recorded the first goal of the game when Mary Herstel beat Hill-Murray goalie Ava Bailey 4:16 into the game. Megan Lyke picked up the assist on the goal.
Hill-Murray did not panic after falling behind in a section playoff game for the first time since the 2012 section final. The Pioneers answered Herstel’s goal just 23 seconds later to tie it at 1-1.
Hill-Murray then took control in the second period as it outshot Irondale 13-3 and scored twice to take the lead for good. It was more of the same in the third as the Pioneers led in shots on goal 16-3 and scored three more times.
Bailey finished with 13 saves while Rupp, who was busy throughout, made 35 stops.
Hill-Murray advances to the section semifinals on Feb. 14.
Irondale finishes its season with a record of 7-16-3.
Section 4AA girls hockey playoffs
Game 1 Hill-Murray 6, Irondale/St. Anthony 1
Game 2 Roseville 7, Stillwater 2
Game 3 White Bear Lake 4, North/Tartan 0
Game 4 MoundS View 5, Woodbury 0
Semifinals, Feb. 14 at Aldrich Arena
Game 5 Hill-Murray vs. Roseville, 5:30 p.m.
Game 6 Mounds View vs. White Bear Lake, 7:30 p.m.
Championship game, Feb. 17, 7 p.m. at Aldrich Arena
Game 7 Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner