Thirty-one goals. That's the margin the Andover girls' hockey team outscored its Class 2A, Section 7 opponents by in its three section tournament games. The latest, a 8-0 victory over Forest Lake in the section final at Fogerty Arena in Blaine on Thursday, clinched the Huskies' third consecutive state tournament appearance and fifth in seven years.
"It's huge for our program," Andover coach Melissa Volk said. "Obviously it's big for our players and our families, but we have a ton of girls in our youth program that really support us and the community as a whole."
The game plan was to come out of the gates flying, Volk said.
They did that and then some.
Sophomore Madison Kaiser scored six minutes into the game and Andover (25-2) tallied three more goals before the period was over. From there, the Huskies added two goals in each of the last two periods. Andover outshot Forest Lake 37-14.
"We knew they were going to come out hard and wanted to win because they have so many seniors and this was kind of their year," Kaiser said. "But we worked hard and got business done."
Kaiser, junior Peyton Hemp and junior Gabby Krause each finished with two goals.
Andover has now defeated Forest Lake (19-7) in the past three section championship games. The Huskies also defeated the Rangers 3-1 earlier this season.
"We didn't really play the game we wanted and a lot of it goes to the pressure they put on us," Forest Lake coach Todd Gutterman said. "Credit to them, they're a really good hockey team."
Looking forward, Andover hopes to improve on its fourth-place finish in the 2019 state tournament, when it was upset by Brainerd 3-2 in overtime in the semifinals.
"After the state tournament last year, we were really motivated to get back to work and put us in a good position for this season," Volk said.
Farmington 4, Northfield 0: Sam Moehle had two goals and an assist as Farmington earned its third state tournament trip in the past four years by winning in Owatonna. Jayden Seifert and Grace Auge scored in the first period for the Tigers (18-10), and Ryleigh Furlong made 15 saves for the shutout.
Paul Hodowanic (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.