Girls hockey: Section 1AA run halted by CougarsFor the third straight year, a Lakeville school will represent Section 1AA at the Class 2A State Girls Hockey Tournament. No. 12-ranked Farmington was able to avenge last year’s section loss to Lakeville North with a thrilling triple-overtime win last Tuesday, but the Tigers ran out of steam in Friday’s Section 1AA championship game.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
For the third straight year, a Lakeville school will represent Section 1AA at the Class 2A State Girls Hockey Tournament.
No. 12-ranked Farmington was able to avenge last year’s section loss to Lakeville North with a thrilling triple-overtime win last Tuesday, but the Tigers ran out of steam in Friday’s Section 1AA championship game. Fourth-ranked Lakeville South, which hasn’t lost a game since December, overcame an early 1-0 deficit and punched its ticket to Xcel Energy Center with a 6-2 win over Farmington at the Four Seasons Center in Owatonna.
The Tigers (20-7) scored first when senior Krystal Baumann — one of three seniors on the team — scored an unassisted goal 5 minutes, 12 seconds into the first period. It was her 54th goal of the season and the 169th and final goal of her career, ranking her second in program history.
The Farmington lead was short-lived, as South’s Morgan Fritz-Ward scored just over a minute later. The Cougars beat goaltender Jessica Erchul again at the 15:38 mark to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
“We came out ready to rock,” Farmington coach Jon Holmes said. “After getting the first goal I noticed that we were very emotional and I tried to get us down a bit to limit the highs and lows, but after their tying goal and eventual go-ahead goal I really noticed that we had let the emotions of the game get the better of us.”
Betsy Anderson’s second minor penalty set up a Reid power-play goal 4:38 into the second and the score stayed 3-1 until the end of the second period. The Tigers ended up with eight penalties and the Cougars took advantage with three power-play goals.
It was 4-1 South by the time Haleigh Zwart scored Farmington’s lone power play goal on a pass from Grace Gavin at the 11:37 mark of the third. The Cougars added another goal 39 seconds later and iced the game with another score with 18 seconds left.
Erchul stopped 22 of 28 South shots while allowing a season-high six goals. Meanwhile, Cougars goaltender Chelsea Laden, the daughter of Farmington softball coach Rob Laden, saved 17 of 19 shots.
“South is a very good team and I expect them to represent our section extremely well this week at state,” Holmes said. “At the end of the night they just played a better game than we did.”
The loss ended the careers of three seniors — Baumann, Hannah Alexander and Emily Severson. Baumann has played varsity hockey for the Tigers for the last six years and helped the program to a 119-45-6 record during that span. All three were part of the teams that made back-to-back state tournament appearances in 2007 (2nd) and 2008 (4th).
Baumann finished second in career goals, eighth in career assists (92) and third in career points (259), while Alexander was seventh in career goals (97), assists (94) and points (191).
Erchul ranks second in program history in career shutouts, save percentage and goals against average.
Lakeville North 4
The Tigers advanced to the Section 1AA championship by outlasting second-seeded Lakeville North 5-4 in an 81-plus minute, three-overtime marathon match played on an Olympic-sized ice sheet last Tuesday at Ames Arena.
The Tigers, who were out-shot 65-36 overall and 24-10 in the overtimes, finally avenged last year’s section tournament loss to the Panthers when Alexander’s wrister found the back of the net 5:33 into overtime No. 3.
“Hannah took a nice break out pass and skated the puck through the netural zone and had to of thought at least once to just dump the puck,” Holmes said. “Something in her made her skate it into the zone dead tired and make a hard cut across the top of the slot and just rocket a wrister over the shoulder of North’s goalie. It was one of the nicest shots I have ever seen … and might just be one of the best game winners I have ever witnessed.”
Erchul stopped a career-high 61 shots, including all 24 in the overtime periods, before Alexander’s game-winner.
“The girls really wanted a shot at state. They knew that if they kept playing good defensive zone and took advantage of their chances that the shot at state would become a reality,” Holmes said. “Lakeville North definitely outplayed us in the overtimes. Jessica did everything but stand upside down on her head to keep the puck out of the net. The rest of the team knew this and found it in their hearts to keep going.”
The Tigers trailed 4-2 before scoring two goals in the final 4:27 to force overtime. Alexander scored on a Baumann rebound to make it a one-goal game, then just over a minute later Baumann capped off her hat trick with her third power play goal to tie the score. The senior was in the game despite spraining her knee late in the second.