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Tigers girls' hockey struggles in state quarterfinals; falls to Andover 7-1

Senior Jenna Gerold stretches in an attempt to corral the puck and get a shot off in the first period of the Tigers' state quarterfinal loss to Andover Thursday morning. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 6
Farmington gave up a season-high seven goals, all in the first two periods, to a talented Andover Huskies team Thursday morning. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 6
The Farmington High School band provided pre-game and between-period entertainment while decked out in orange at the Xcel Energy Center. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 6
Head coach Jon Holmes addresses his team during the first period of Thursday's state quarterfinal game on Thursday, Feb. 21. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 6
Senior Cassie Knutson handles the puck during Farmington's 7-1 loss to Andover Feb. 21. Knutson said after the game that the young Tiger team will only continue to get better. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 6
FHS students showed up in numbers to support the Tigers girls' hockey team. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia6 / 6

A rough first-period quickly snowballed for the Farmington Tigers girls' hockey team in their state quarterfinal game against the Andover Huskies. After a slow start for both teams as they felt each other out, Andover exploded for four goals over the last 12 minutes of the first period and the Tigers struggled to recover. The second period saw Farmington commit a couple costly penalties that resulted in two Huskies' power-play goals to start the period and the chances for a Tiger comeback dwindled. Trailing 7-0 heading into the third period, Farmington got on the board with a goal from senior Jenna Gerold and 7-1 was the final.

The Tigers struggled to generate offense the entire game as they managed just eight shots on goal. Defensively, the penalties did not help but the seven goals allowed were a season-high for them and sophomore goalie Ryleigh Furlong admitted that frustration set in early for Farmington.

"It was more of a frustration thing where their shots weren't anything that I hadn't seen before, because we've faced Blake and we've faced Maple Grove, so it wasn't out of the ordinary. But I think it was more frustration for the whole team, you could tell everyone was frustrated and everyone wanted to come in here," she said. "I think it was hard, especially for us younger girls, to have all these lights and all these people there, we're not used to that and I think it was just hard. I don't think it was the shots, I think it was just the surrounding and what was happening on the ice."

Head coach Jon Holmes said that his team just had one of those games where they just are not clicking.

"They're (Andover) a good team. They did exactly what we thought they were gonna do, we had seen them play and kind of knew the style of play that they had," he said. "Unfortunately, we didn't really have our best stuff today. It was one of those games where you try not to have that game in the playoffs or the state tournament and it happened to us. I think everything kind of went haywire, we're super young and it was hard I think for them to find their stride and then that third period they started focusing on smaller things and it worked out better."

Despite the loss, the Tigers can still play two more games and match their result from the 2017 state tournament of consolation champions. Holmes said that their play in the third period will hopefully help them move on and be ready for Friday.

"So short term, the big goal going into the third period was just to get an inch better, try to find our way so tomorrow we can draw up something positive and get into a game where we can get ourselves into a hardware match on Saturday," he said.

Farmington will play White Bear Lake at the TRIA Rink at the Treasure Island Center on Friday, Feb. 22, at 10 a.m. The winner of that game would play for the consolation championship against Edina, East Ridge, Minnetonka or Maple Grove, who all play the evening quarterfinal games. The consolation championship is Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the TRIA Rink.

No matter the result of the rest of the weekend, Farmington is a young team who may have their best hockey still ahead of them and senior Cassie Knutson said it's been great seeing the team grow over the course of the season.

"Just bringing those younger girls, coming back (to the state tournament) another time and being able to show them everything, being able to show them the ropes is an incredible feeling," she said. "I mean, it's crazy, it's not even the same team (from the beginning of the season until now) I can say that for sure. You look at our first game and you wouldn't even be able to recognize us and I know, even after the tournament just with how young we are, working in the summer and working next year they're going to keep getting better and I have no doubt that they'll do something great again next year."

The Tigers graduate just three seniors after this season—Knutson, Gerold and Bailey Kelley—but those three played a critical role in helping lead this year's team.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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