THIEF RIVER FALLS -- The power play has been good for Warroad this season.
On Thursday, it powered Warroad to a fifth straight trip to the Minnesota Class A girls high school hockey tournament.
Warroad scored three power-play goals on its way to a 4-0 win against Thief River Falls in the championship game of the Section 8A tournament.
“Our power play has been incredible this year,’’ veteran Warroad coach David Marvin said. “It’s the best power-play percentage I’ve ever had. And we’ve had a lot of good players skating on our power play in the past.’’
Warroad had five power plays in the championship game, scoring on three of them.
“That’s a pretty nice percentage,’’ Marvin said. “You need that this time of the year.
“These girls are so unselfish. They work the puck around. They’re patient and they work for good shots.’’
Geno Hendrickson led the way with two goals and two assists. Hannah Corneliusen added a goal and two assists and Talya Hendrickson, Geno’s sister, scored a goal.
“We’ve struggled some in past seasons on the power play,’’ Geno Hendrickson said. “We’ve been working on it. It’s been a strength this year.’’
The Warriors led 1-0 after one period, with Talya Hendrickson taking a feed from her older sister and scoring from the circle on a power play at 2:03.
Then the power-play kill came into play.
Thief River Falls was in a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:03 early in the second period. The Prowlers had several quality scoring opportunities, but couldn’t put the puck past Warriors goalie Kendra Nordick.
“My teammates helped me out. A lot,’’ Nordick said. “It was pretty tough. But it was also pretty exciting.’’
Said Marvin: “They probably had 8-9 good shots there. That (kill) was everything. They get one there and it’s a completely different game. Kendra had some nice saves and we did a nice job of clearing some rebounds. There were some scrambles in there.’’
Nordick finished with 17 saves in the shutout win.
Warroad finished the second period with three goals in a four-minute span. Geno Hendrickson scored at the 11:58 mark, Corneliusen made it 3-0 on the power play at 14:11, then assisted on another Geno Hendrickson power-play goal at 15:57.
The Prowlers’ 5-on-3 “was the key to the game,’’ TRF coach Brett Johnson said. “If we put in one goal, maybe two, and it can change the game. We had good opportunities. We battled for the puck. Sometimes it doesn’t bounce your way.’’
Gabby Steele had 27 saves for the Prowlers.’
Thief River Falls closed with an 11-15-0 record. Warroad takes a 21-4-2 record to its fifth straight state appearance.
“This is just as exciting as the first time we went,’’ Geno Hendrickson said. “Every year, to win this game is awesome.’’