AREA NOTEBOOK: Girls hockey section 8A title and a state tournament berth at 7 p.m. Thursday
The path to the Minnesota Class A girls state hockey tournament goes through some extra ice for Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks Senior High.
The teams meet for the Section 8A title and a state tournament berth at 7 p.m. Thursday. The tournament is in Warroad, which has an Olympic-size rink — that’s 15 feet wider than typical high school rinks.
“There is more space to do things on offense,” TRF coach Corey Poole said. “There’s more room behind the nets and in the corners. We’re all used to a smaller, more confined rink. It challenges the defense more.
“And on a bigger rink, the players are skating more. You have to rely more on your third line.”
Senior High coach Jim Scanlan said the bigger ice and more space makes it more of a challenge for penalty kills. “A team that skates well, that moves the puck well, can take advantage of the bigger rink,” Scanlan said. “But I don’t think it’s an advantage for either team. Both teams skate well and move the puck.”
Each program is looking for its first trip to the state tournament.
Thief River Falls (24-1-0), the No. 1 seed, is the top-ranked team in the state. Senior High (23-2-1), the No. 2 seed, is the second-ranked team in the state. The lone Green Wave losses were by 2-1 and 3-1 margins to the Prowlers.
Both teams are deep in scoring threats. Both teams are stingy on defense, the Prowlers led in goal by Frances Marshall (0.84 goals-against average, .950 save percentage) and Senior High by Madi Galstad (1.18 goals-against average, .946 save percentage).
“It will be another battle, a low-scoring battle,” Poole said.
Roseau likes trend
Roseau has qualified for the Minnesota girls state hockey tournament in 2008, 2010 and 2012. “We’re hoping that trend continues,” Rams coach Steve Huglen said.
Roseau, 15-12-0 and the top seed in Section 8AA, meets No. 2 Buffalo for the section title at 7 p.m. Thursday in Bemidji. The game has been changed from its original Friday date.
Coming into the playoffs, Roseau needed a win just to guarantee itself an above-.500 record for the season. But there was a reason for a regular season that ended at 13-12-0.
“We played the toughest schedule we could find, maybe the toughest Roseau has ever played,” Huglen said. “We could have found a way to be 20-5. But that’s not the goal. We wanted to be ready for this time of the year. And we’ve been competitive in most games.”
Tianna Gunderson (21-12—33), Sarina Goos (14-13—27) and Maddy Helgeson (15-10—25) lead a balanced offense.
“We skate well and try to play a fast-paced game,” Huglen said. “We have the benefit of pretty good depth. We play three lines regularly and anybody on those three lines can score. We don’t rely on one or two people.”
Roseau hasn’t played Buffalo, a first-year member of 8AA, this season.
Perham, Frazee favored in section duals
There are clear favorites in the Minnesota Section 8A and 8AA dual wrestling tournaments, to be held Saturday in Thief River Falls.
Perham in 8AA and Frazee in 8A are defending champions. Both are favorites to repeat.
In 8AA, Thief River Falls coach Kenny Geiser says Perham “looks like they’re head and shoulders above the rest. One big thing is they’ve stayed healthy and other teams have some injuries. And they’re wrestling well. It will be a tough task for anybody to beat them.”
Perham is ranked 10th in the state in the Class AA rankings of The Guillotine, the state’s wrestling magazine. In Class A, Frazee is ranked third. They are the only Section 8 teams ranked in the top 12 in either classification.
“The closest any of us (8A teams) have been to Frazee is around 20 points,” said Badger-Greenbush-Middle River coach Todd Bergeron, whose team won the tournament two seasons ago. “That’s a pretty significant margin. You’d probably need at least two or three upsets to beat them. But you never know.
“There are a few of us who will be battling to meet them in the final.”
Safranski reaches 1,000
Versatile Stephen-Argyle senior Carly Safranski recently scored her 1,000th career point in basketball. She averages 22.4 points and is almost as accurate on 3-point shots (53-of-124, 43 percent) as she is on 2-pointers (99-of-221, 45 percent).
“That’s pretty good shooting,” Storm coach Dan Lindgren said. “When she gets hot, it’s tough for defenses to cool her down.
“The first half of the season, she was mostly on the perimeter. But we’ve played her inside more lately. She’s so physically strong that she can muscle through taller players for her points.”
Thompson senior Ryne Dolleslager has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake.