Blake 5, Red Wing 3
Shoves and word exchanges in the opening minutes of Friday's Class 1A semifinal fueled the Blake girls' hockey team.
Physicality is a big part of the Bears' usual efforts and played a big role in a 6-3 victory over Red Wing. First it was Maddy Hall doing the shoving, then Karlie Lund, then Haley Aldrich, each using the moment to show the Wingers there would be no relenting.
"I think the physicality of [our style of play] just generally comes along," Dani Cameranesi said "It gets me kind of fired up when people are trying to come at me."
The teams combined for eight penalties and Red Wing suffered the most from its four. Three of the Wingers core players missed eight minutes of action, with the state's leading scorer Nicole Schammel sitting out four minutes.
Blake turned two of these opportunities into points. Carly Bullock and Cameranesi scored goals four and six on power plays to give the No. 3-seed Bears a cushion to advance to today's noon championship game.
No. 2-seed Red Wing rallied from a 3-1 deficit to briefly tie the game 11:48 into the second period. Katelyn Hadler scored a shorthanded goal, but 10 seconds later Bullock followed up her blocked shot to score the first of three Blake unanswered goals.
Though Blake goaltender Tori Johnson limited Schammel's high-powered offense, the Red Wing junior forward arguably recorded what could be the tournament's top play. Schammel broke away from a defender and created an open look at the goal by pushing the puck behind her and through her legs. The defender fell to the ground, but the crossbar saved a would-be goal.
Though Schammel's shots were frequent, her only goal was scored 11 minutes into the first period.
"I couldn't quite find the back of the net as much as I normally do or as easily," Schammel said. "I just think for our whole team, the puck just wasn't bouncing our way."
Warroad 4, South St. Paul 1
Last year’s 9 a.m. start to the Class 1A third-place game didn’t sit well with Warroad so on Friday afternoon it used two power-play goals to make certain that the Warroads fit into a Saturday afternoon time slot.
Warroad’s 4-1 victory over South St. Paul at Xcel Energy Center advanced the Warriors to the noon state championship game against Blake.
“If our memory serves us right, we didn’t want to play at 9 o’clock in the morning. That is a tough one,” Warroad coach David Marvin said joking.
His daughter and senior forward, Lisa Marvin, added, “We owed them one. We felt like they took one from us last year. We didn’t want it to happen again,” she said. “Last year we looked back and said 'What if?’ We didn’t want it to have to be that way this year.”
The Warriors lost 4-2 to South St. Paul in the same game a year ago, failing to convert on six power-play opportunities.
This wasn’t the case on Friday. Marvin (two assists, one goal) scored the game’s first goal on a power play. Kayla Gardner (two goals, one assist) increased the lead to 2-0 with a second-period power play goal.
South St. Paul achieved its goal of limiting Warroad’s offense early in the game. The Packers gave up just one goal in the first period and trailed only 2-1 heading into the third period. Warroad, however, tacked on goals and closed out the scoring with an open-net score.
“Our team was working so hard and we were doing so well in the first and then second period, said Riley Viner, South St. Paul’s only scorer. “I really believe in our team, but it just didn’t go our way.”