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2022 Minnesota Girls State Tournament

The Warroad Warriors celebrate their third state championship after a 6-1 victory over Proctor/Hermantown at XCel Energy Center.
Photo by Arnie Hamel
The Warroad Warriors celebrate their third state championship after a 6-1 victory over Proctor/Hermantown at XCel Energy Center.

Offense wins Championships

Every team played good defense in getting to State, but it was the offensive skill and playmaking of Andover and Warroad that put them over the top this weekend in St. Paul

Arnie Hamel
Sunday, February 27, 2022

Defense wins championships.

We hear it all the time in sports.

But this week at the girls state hockey tournament in St. Paul, that maxim was turned on its head. While every team in both Class A and AA needed their defense to reach the state tournament, this year’s winners set themselves apart with their offense.

Sure, the Andover Huskies went 30 for 30 and reclaimed the AA crown with suffocating defense, 12 shutouts and a 1.00 GAA. Yet it was their offense that came through when needed, first in the semis against Gentry Academy, then in the championship game against Minnetonka.

The Huskies were locked in a 1-1 pitcher’s duel with Gentry on Friday through two periods before an early third period blizzard gave them three goals in 50 seconds.

Game over.

Andover freshman defender Mackenzie Jones.

Andover freshman defender Mackenzie Jones. 

Then on Saturday, with their perfect season on the line against Minnetonka – the second-best offensive team in the state – junior Madison Brown tied the score early in the third and senior Sara Kaiser scored with 1:40 remaining to deliver a 5-4 championship game victory.

It was the second time this season that Kaiser broke the Skippers’ hearts. She also scored the game-winner in a 4-3 verdict over Tonka in the Walser Edina Invitational on Dec. 29.

And it was Minnetonka’s superb offense that brought them within a skate blade of winning their first championship since 2013. The Skippers got to the finals with a 9-0 bombardment of Burnsville and a 2-1 squeaker over rival Edina.

Behind senior Ava Lindsay and junior Grace Sadura, it looked like Minnetonka might have found enough offense to hand the Huskies their first loss since last year’s title game. Tonka led 4-3 entering the final period and had already become the first team to score four goals against the Huskies this year.

But great teams find a way and it was Andover’s offense that was not going to let the season end in disappointment. The Huskies completed a remarkable season with a flawless 30-0 record.

Warroad's Kate Johnson had two goals in the title game, giving her 48 for the season.<br>

Warroad's Kate Johnson had two goals in the title game, giving her 48 for the season.
 

In Class A, Warroad also won a state title as the best offensive team in the field.

Locked in a scrum with scrappy South St. Paul in the semifinals, the Warriors erupted for four goals in 2:03 of the third period – including a pure hat trick in 98 seconds by junior forward Lila Lanctot – to derail the Packers’ game plan of a low-scoring upset. A 1-0 nailbiter quickly became a 5-0 rout.

In the finals, Warroad again scoffed at the notion that they could be beaten in a low scoring defensive battle. 2021 champions Proctor/Hermantown got the goal they needed from Nya Sieger 2:45 into the game to take a 1-0 lead, but it was all Warroad’s offense from there on.

The Black and Gold buzzed the Mirage net like busy bees in periods two and three. The depth and skill of the Warroad offense was overwhelming and Mirage goalie Abby Pajari had no chance on the Warriors’ flurry of redirects and one-timers.

Kate Johnson scored twice and, along with linemate Talya Hendrickson, continuously generated quality chances. The juniors combined for 175 points this season, while playing 17 games against Class AA competition. Safe to say this dynamic duo will be back for more next year.

Warriors junior forward Talya Hendrickson finished a championship season with 89 points.

Warriors junior forward Talya Hendrickson finished a championship season with 89 points. 

Warroad second-liners Madison Lavergne and Lila Lanctot were also unrelenting in the offensive zone. Lanctot scored six times in the three games and gave the Warriors yet another weapon for which their opponents had no answer.

Andover (5.40 GPG), Minnetonka (5.26), Warroad (5.67) and Orono (5.43) were the four semi-finalists in the two classes that average over five goals per game, and that extra offense goes a long way.

At least in this year’s tournament, a championship required more than just good defense.

 


Rankings Rankings Class 2A
2021-2022
#TEAMJANJET
1.Andover8.733
2.Edina8.333
3.Minnetonka7.645
4.Holy Family7.607
5.Lakeville South7.500
6.Benilde - St. Margaret's7.393
7.Burnsville7.094
8.Gentry Academy7.032
9.Wayzata7.000
9.Hill Murray7.000
Rankings Class 1A
2021-2022
#TEAMJANJET
1.Warroad7.567
2.Orono7.167
3.Proctor / Hermantown6.767
4.Holy Angels6.500
5.Simley6.385
6.Mound Westonka 6.154
7.South St. Paul5.800
8.Cloquet-Esko-Carlton5.778
9.Duluth Marshall5.720
10.Fergus Falls5.704

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