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Girls hockey: Tigers blanked in Section 1AA tournament, 3-0

The most prominent feature of the Farmington girls hockey team during its recent run of success was its high-scoring offense.

The Tigers consistently led the Missota Conference in goals scored during their stretch of 20-win seasons, Missota Conference titles and state tournament appearances from 2005 to 2011. The team scored a record 184 goals in the 2005-06 season and averaged 123 goals per season through last year.

The graduation losses of some key offensive players left this year's team with some question marks, and the Tigers were never quite able to find an answer. They ended up putting the puck in the net just 39 times this season, and scored one goal or fewer in 15 of their games, including last Wednesday night's 3-0 Section 1AA tournament loss at fourth-seeded Dodge County that wrapped up a 9-17 campaign.

It was revenge of sorts for the Wildcats, who had been beaten by Farmington by a combined score of 38-3 in their previous five meetings, including Section 1AA tournament losses in 2010 and '11.

After a scoreless first period last Wednesday, Dodge County (21-5) got on the board with a goal early in the second. It was 2-0 by the time the Wildcats flipped in an empty-netter in the closing seconds. The home team finished with a 32-16 edge in shots on goal.

Senior goaltender Jessica Erchul wrapped up her standout career with a 29-save effort. A five-year starter who gained state-wide attention early on with a 1-0 state tournament shutout of highly-favored Eagan as an eighth-grader, Erchul finished among the Farmington program's all-time leaders in wins, shutouts and save percentage.

Fellow seniors Betsy Anderson, Molly Friedlund and Katie Burgess were also key contributors over the last several years.