north heats up: SECTIONS 7 AND 8 offering up TWO MORE INTRIGUING TOURNAMENTS
A pair of top-10 metro area teams seem headed for a Class 2A, Section 7 championship game rematch. And two top-10 teams from northern Minnesota give Section 8 some punch, too.
A year ago, Andover blanked Forest Lake for the right to represent Section 7 at the state tournament. The Rangers got on the right side of an Andover shutout in December with a 1-0 victory. Forest Lake entered the week ranked No. 3, one spot ahead of Andover, and earned the top seed in Section 7.
The teams are a study in contrasts. Andover's top line of Peyton Hemp, Gabby Krause and Jamie Nelson sets the pace. Defense is Forest Lake's strength with Rachel Golnitz, Ellen Nelson and Elizabeth Valley. Both teams' top goaltender stands out as well. Andover's Cassidy Stumo should have been a Senior Goalie of the Year semifinalist, while Forest Lake junior Allyn Goehner has shined in her first year as a full-time starter.
Not since 2008 has the Section 8 representative advanced to the state tournament semifinals. No. 7 Brainerd/Little Falls or No. 8 Roseau hope to end the streak. The Warriors have defeated Roseau twice this season and are the defending section champions. And they have beaten No. 9 Maple Grove and lost to No. 5 Eden Prairie.
Roseau's résumé features the Eden Prairie Invitational tournament championship. The Rams beat Chaska/Chanhassen, Minnetonka and the host Eagles in late December.
David La Vaque