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Girls hockey: Tigers capture conference crown

The Farmington girls hockey team wrapped up a conference championship and a No. 3 seed in the section.

Opponents scheduled to face Farmington's girls hockey team during the second half of the season had better come prepared.

The Tigers are building a reputation as a team that may struggle through its first few games, but will diagnose its problems and improve in time for the playoffs. Their latest second-half surge culminated with a 9-1 win over Hutchinson in the final game of the regular season Thursday night at Schmitz-Maki Arena. It was the squad's ninth win in its last 10 games and gave the program its fifth Missota Conference championship since 1999. The Tigers finished second twice and third twice during Holy Angels' run of four straight titles from 2006-09.

"I am so proud of how our team stepped up and took the challenge seriously and made a big run at the end of the season to clinch the conference," Farmington head coach Jon Holmes said. "The biggest difference between this year and last year is age. We lost two seniors last year and the rest of our squad was virtually all returners. One year of physical and mental maturity has made a big difference."

The Tigers didn't just win the conference, they dominated it. Despite missing leading scorer Krystal Baumann for five games due to injury, they finished 12-2 in league play and finished first in both goals scored (4.2) and fewest goals allowed per game (1.9).

The team went 9-1 after two losses at the Louis Schmitz Holiday Classic had dropped its record to 8-6-1. Over the last five years the Tigers have gone 56-12-1 in the second half, compared to 42-25-5 in the first half.

An overall record of 17-7-1 earned the Tigers a No. 3 seed in the Section 1AA Tournament and a home game against Dodge County (15-10) in tomorrow's opener. A win would likely lead to a road game next Tuesday at No. 2-seeded Lakeville North, which finished just 11-13-1 in the tough Lake Conference. Top-seeded Lakeville South won the Lake Conference with a record of 15-2-1 and claimed the section last year after knocking off Farmington 4-3 in the semifinals in Owatonna.

"We are playing well at the right time so hopefully we can make the transition into the playoffs with the same intensity," Holmes said.

"We have a tough road ahead of us. But with some hard work and good luck we will have a decent shot at making a long run in the post season."

Farmington 9,

Hutchinson 1

Seven Farmington players found the net in Thursday night's 9-1 win over Hutchinson at Schmitz-Maki Arena.

Baumann scored at least three goals for the sixth time this season to finish with 38 goals in 20 regular season games. She also handed out three assists, giving her 15 this season.

Senior Angie Schull added a goal and five assists and senior Haley Doll knocked in her first goal of the season.

Also contributing single goals were Shaye Jenrich, Hannah Alexander, Grace Gavin and Rachel Peroutky.

The Tigers held a lopsided 41-19 advantage in shots on goal. Goaltender Jessica Erchul stopped 18 shots to pick up the win.