Senior center Joie Phelps had a hat trick 5 minutes, 40 seconds into the second period to help No. 2 seed St. Paul United (20-6-2) to a 10-0 victory over Mankato East/Loyola (17-10-1) in the Class 1A quarterfinals Wednesday at Xcel Energy Center.
Phelps also finished with three assists. Senior Maggie Conners and forward Samantha Burke each had a pair of goals. United went 2-for-3 on the power play.
"That's exactly what I want to see offensively," United coach Nate Mauer said.
United outshot the Cougars 41-9, with eighth-grader Jillian Oncay making eight saves until she departed with 7:14 left in the game. Mauer said his team reacted well to start, taking a 3-0 lead just 5:20 into the game, causing the Cougars to take a timeout.
"The game kind of snowballed," Cougars coach Nathan Fuller said.
Six games ago, United changed its entire game style, which has made a big difference in making the team stronger, Mauer said. Phelps and Burke, who used to play together, now center the top two lines. They're on the ice nearly every other shift.
For Phelps, Conners and most of the United team, it's their third trip to the state tournament. They finished as the Class 1A runner-up last season. Mankato East was last at state in 1999 as a co-op with Mankato West.
"We know what's like to get there, and now we just have to push that extra step to get to our ultimate goal," Conners said.