Andover vs. Farmington
Andover has not had an easy road to the X. A two goal win over St. Francis in game one of sections. Much closer than anyone anticipated. An epic 4OT win over Elk River in the section semi. And another dramatic victory vs. Forest Lake in the final. The Huskies were :13 from being eliminated when Gabby Krause found the back of the net to force OT. And Madison Kaiser ended it with one shot :23 into OT. What a roller coaster! We need to start referring to these girls as the Cardiac Kids!
Farmington has had a little easier path to the State Tourney. They beat John Marshall 11-0 and Lakeville South 8-0 in the first two rounds. In the final vs. Lakeville North they had a 4-1 lead early in the second and they took their foot off the gas a bit too early and let North back in the game. North scored 3 unanswered goals to force OT. Claire Enright finished it for Farmington in the OT period and ended the game with a hat trick. Quite a precocious young lady!
Andover has been tested as of late and they have found ways to win. I think recent adversity bodes well for them this week. Combine that with the youth and inexperience of the Farmington team and I think you have a recipe for an Andover win.
Andover 5. Farmington 2.
White Bear Lake vs. Brainerd/Little Falls
White Bear Lake’s Calla Frank has had an unreal post season. 3 games. 3 shutouts. 115 shots. 115 saves. For WBL to make a run at the X she will need to continue to play at a very high level. I am not sure that is sustainable.
Brainerd has tremendous depth for being an out-state team. And that depth has been the key to their sustained success for this current group of girls for the last 6-7 years. In the 3 section games they have 6 players that averaged at least 1 point section play. And seeing as Lindsey Booth, one of the top players, continues to be out that depth will continue to serve them well. The key to them winning will be getting bodies to the net for second chance opportunities. If they can get to the net and get some ugly goals they should not have a problem.
Brainerd 4. WBL 1.
East Ridge vs. Edina
East Ridge is playing in their first ever girls State Tourney. And the draw #1 seed and two time defending champ Edina. That is unlucky. East Ridge is very happy to have Fiona Clougherty back in the line up but unfortunately it won’t matter.
Edina is stacked. Eight D1 commits. 3-4 more D1 prospects. They might not be has good as they were last year but they are still the team to beat. Ms. Hockey finalist CC Bowlby leads the way. She has settled into a line with Tella Jungels and Hannah Chorske and they have found some chemistry. Tremendous depth at forward and some very high end D in Vivian Jungels and Mallory Uihlein.
The trap that Edina could fall into today is they sleepwalk through this game but even if that happens they win.
Edina 6. East Ridge 1.
Maple Grove vs. Minnetonka
Maple Grove and Minnetonka had one meeting during the regular season. That was a 3-2 OT win for the Crimson.
Maple Grove’s Mannon McMahon is one of the top players in the state. Her and Senior Goalie of the Year Finalist Lucy Morgan are the backbone of the team. Mannon and Lauren Stenslie each had 4 points in two section games. Chloe Corbin and Tristana Tatur each had 3 points. Maple Grove ended the regular season with a 0-1 loss to Wayzata. but they had won 6 in a row prior to that. Conversely, Minnetonka had lost 4 in a row to end the season and had lost 8 pf their last 11. To say the limped into the post season is an understatement. But they found a groove in the post season and were led by Lacey Martin and her 9 goals and 3 assists in 3 section games. Her linemates Emily Bayless and Kylie Melz had 5 points and 4 points respectively. All World defenseman Maggie Nicholson chipped in 5 points in 3 games.
If the regular season matchup is any indication this will be another good one.
Minnetonka 4. Maple Grove 3.