Warroad - CEC advance to Semi-Final Clash

by Pete Waggoner

A day one recap of the Class A semi-finals

Warroad 7 Willmar 4

The Warroad Warriors and Willmar Cardinals opened the Minnesota State High School League’s Girls’ Class A Tournament Wednesday morning form the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.  The Warriors fought off a strong challenge from the Cardinals and skated to a 7-4 victory to advance to the semi-final round on Friday. 

The Cardinals, the Section 6A champions,  (18-9-1)  opened the game with a push, skating stride for stride with the talented Warriors (22-4-2), winners of the Section 8A title.  After holding a shots on goal edge of 5-1 to start the game, Warroad began to take control of the game and delivered 3 unanswered goals, two in the first and one in the second frames. 

Junior center Geno Hendrickson sparked the Warriors with a hattrick and assist on the game with two of her goals coming in the three goal outburst.  

The Cardinals opened with a push and pushed back when down three and cut the deficit to 3-2 on back-to-back goals by junior forward Ashley Larson and junior defender Tanna Christianson.  Warroad coach Dave Marvin had seen enough and called a timeout.  Fueled by a pair of power plays, the Warriors reclaimed the three goal lead power play tallies by Geno Hendrickson (her third goal of the game) and Hannah Corneliusen.  Tayla Hendrickson also scored to open a 6-2 lead with 4:28 remaining in the second period.  

Entering the game with a power play working at about 30%, the Warriors utilized that to push past the Cardinals.  They were 3-3 with the power play while Willmar was 0-1 on the power play.  It would prove to be a key part of the game. 

As was the case throughout the game, the Cardinals had room for one more push and cut their deficit  to 6-4 on a late second period goal by Bailey Olson and an early third period goal by Mya Monson making for a tense start to the third period.  Junior forward Madison Garberding had two assists on the game for the Cardinals.  

Corneliusen put the game out of reach with a goal at 9:25 of the third period as her team finished, clamping down on the Cardinals defensively.  Corneliusen finished the game with (2g-1a-3pts) and Junior Sydney Phaneuf had 3 assists in the win.  Tayla Hendrickson had (1g-2a-3pts) and Junior Karlie Meeker had 2 assists for the Warriors.  

The Warriors, who are making their 11th state tournament appearance and in search of their third state title, will face the winner of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton and Hutchinson in the semi-final round on Friday. 

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 2  Hutchinson 0

The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Lumberjacks set up a date with the Warroad Warriors in the second semi-final game of the Minnesota High School Girls Hockey Class A State championship game with a gritty 2-0 win over the Hutchinson Tigers at the Xcel Energy Center.  

Fueled by a pair of first period goals by Jenna Zdebski and Dana Jones held up through three periods as goalie Araya Kiminski made 18 saves to earn her second shutout of the season.  The win for the section 7AA champion Lumberjacks (26-3-0) set up a date in the semi-final against the Warroad Warriors.  The win is the seventh straight for the Lumberjacks.  

The Tigers (21-8-0) will play in the consolation round against the Willmar Cardinals.  The loss snapped a 5-game winning streak for the Tigers.  Goalie Hannah Ladwig faced 26 shots and turned aside 24 in the defensive game.