A top high school hockey official is unhappy about a referee who worked a state tournament semifinal game in which he had a family connection to one of the schools.
Mark Arriola, one of four officials on the ice for Friday's Class 1A semifinal game between Warroad and St. Paul United, is married to an employee at Visitation. The Mendota Heights private school is one of two schools with players on the St. Paul United co-op team.
St. Paul United defeated Warroad 4-3 at Xcel Energy Center on the strength on three power-play goals. Nine penalties were called on the Warriors, while St. Paul United was called for two.
Bill Kronschnabel, coordinator of hockey officials for the Minnesota State High School League, said after the game that Arriola should not have been assigned to work it.
"If I would have known before the game, he would not have been on that game," said Kronschnabel, who found out during the second period. "It's our policy not to put officials on games if there is even the appearance of conflict. I'm not real happy."
Asked whether he thought the integrity of the semifinal game was compromised, Kronschnabel said, "No, I don't."
Arriola, a women's college hockey official assigned to his first state tournament, directed questions to Kronschnabel. He worked Thursday's late Class 2A quarterfinal game before he received his Friday morning assignment. The responsibility to flag a potential conflict was Arriola's, Kronschnabel said.
"It should be common sense but maybe he was wrapped up in being here and didn't think about it," Kronschnabel said.
Kronschnabel spoke with Arriola after Friday's game.
"He feels bad," Kronschnabel said. "I don't think he did it on purpose."
The news further riled Warroad coach Dave Marvin.
"It's a shame,'' he said. "I think all the penalties took away from a really good game."
She's stops, work doesn't
As Eden Prairie's only healthy goalie, sophomore Alex Dobchuk has not received a night off this season.
Not that she's complaining. In fact, her dogged approach starts in practice.
"She takes a ton of shots in practice, and we tell her to get off the ice and go rest and she says, 'No, I need to work on this,' " Eagles' coach Jaime Grossman said.
The effort produced all 21 Eden Prairie victories, a 1.35 goals-against average, .942 saves percentage and 11 shutouts — most in the state.
Soft voice, big game
Early in the first Class 1A semifinal, Blake's Carly Bullock skated into the heel of a Proctor/Hermantown player's stick in the aftermath of a faceoff.
The stick caught her in the throat, briefly sending Bullock out of the game.
Bullock was left with a hoarse voice after the game. She said she wasn't sure whether the high stick was intentional, but she used it for motivation regardless.
"Just using it in a good way," said Bullock, who has seven goals in the tournament. "The best way to get back at a team is to just score a lot and make them regret trying to slash me in the throat."
Goals at two schools
Sena Hanson started her high school career at Irondale, scoring key goals as a freshman that helped her team reach the Class 2A state tournament. She will finish it playing in the Class 1A title game for St. Paul United.
Hanson, who transferred before this season, scored a big goal Friday when her first-period shot sailed into the net to give her team momentum after falling behind 2-0 early.
"The state tournament is a dream for every player, so just getting here with a team that's like a family is just a privilege and an honor," Hanson said.
The evening session of Class 2A games drew 2,622 fans. The afternoon session drew an announced 2,483.