Mounds View enjoyed a 7-0 shutout of ninth-seed Spring Lake Park which downed No. 8 (upset) Coon Rapids (5-21-0) 4-2 three days earlier in the first section game.
The Panthers (10-15-2) were outshot by 16 shots but held a 3-0 lead until midway through the third period with goals from Maddy Kelly (3:20, first period), Taylor Turnquist (8:15, first period) and Kim Patterson (14:54, second period).
Coon Rapids’ Amber Ammann scored 24 seconds into its second power play chance of the game with assists from Emily Tronson and Kate Fredrickson to make it 3-1. The Cardinals pulled within one goal 8:02 later as the Hannula’s hooked up. Jane Hannula set up sister Heidi Hannula on what would be the Cardinals final goal of the season.
Panthers Maggie Ronning put in an empty-net goal with three seconds left for the final 4-2 score.
Saturday’s contest started the same for the Panthers as they weathered a furious attack by Mounds View. Unlike the game against Coon Rapids, the Panthers didn’t establish a lead.
Panthers coach Tom Kuhlenkamp said the key against Coon Rapids was finishing chances early. That didn’t carry over to Saturday as the confident Mustangs broke the scoreless start at the 7:25 mark of the opening period on a trickling puck that worked its way through the defense and goalie Molly Sienko. Spring Lake Park started the second period on the penalty kill after being called for a penalty as the buzzer sounded to end the first stanza. Mounds View promptly took care of business and scored 43 seconds into the period to turn the momentum even further in its favor. “We had a great shorthanded chance but the rebound came out and gave them a two-on-one which they scored on for that 2-0 lead,” he said.
The Panthers should return its entire line up, “so that should bode well for the future,” Kuhlenkamp said as they posted a 7-4-2 record in the second half of the season losing to Benilde-St. Margaret’s twice, Mounds View and a heart-breaker to Irondale for the losses. The wins were a result of a shored-up defensive unit with Taylor Turnquist and Sam Amman along. Senko and Mackensay Kelly shared goaltending duties which help keep both sharp when Kuhlenkamp taped one or the other. Scoring production from all three lines also helped the cause, especially the line of Caitlin Monson, Maddy Wallraff and Miranda DeBoer.
No. 5 Champlin Park 4, No. 4 Anoka 1
Champlin Park scored 41 seconds apart later in the opening period and went ahead 3-0 as Hailey Adair scored shorthanded 5:23 into the second period.
Blair Parent scored Anoka’s only goal of the game with 1:57 left in the second period. The power play tally was set up by Amanda Kimmerle.
Anoka outshot the Rebels 31-20 in the game including a 10-2 edge in the final period. Champlin Park added an empty-netter with 28 seconds left to end Anoka’s season.
Anoka coach Pete Hayes said his team felt the pressure to win a section game, like many of the top-seeds, but couldn’t close the deal.
“There’s something to be said about the underdog being under no pressure,” he said. “Some kids respond well and some feel it. We could’ve played better but we still outshot them nearly 2:1 but we got behind and credit them for playing a real defensive pressure like what we did in our win against Andover.”
Hayes said the turning point for his team came after failing to convert a breakaway only to have the Adair convert on a breakaway minutes later to go up 3-0.
Anoka won the first meeting of the season 10-4 but lost 3-2 in the rematch in Champlin. The Tornadoes came into sections 7-1-1 over the last nine games but they couldn’t translate that into a section win.
Anoka returns Parent and Kimmerle next season but lose leading score Emilie Brigham (26 goals, 48 points) who will play at the University of Maine next season.
They also graduate Katie Burkey who had 30 points and 18 assists.
Parent had 41 points (21 goals) and Kimmerle was fourth on the team with 15 points.
No. 7 Centennial 5, No. 2 Andover 1
Centennial only won six games during the regular season while Andover marched to its first Northwest Suburban Conference title, winning 18 games along the way but those contrasts were turned on its head Saturday afternoon in Roseville.
The Cougars matched a season-high five goals while Andover was held to one goal for the fifth time in what was suppose to be an Andover win, just as they did twice during the regular season.
Centennial’s Kayla Sinna scored 2:14 into the contest and made it 2-0 with 4:30 left in the first period to send a shell-shocked Huskies team into the lockerroom for the first intermission.
“We knew what Centennial would try to out-muscle us and knock us off our game and they did that with their first two goals which were just hard-working goals,” Andover coach Ben Monahan said. “Their game plan was drawn up to perfection and we’re still looking for answers.”
Just as they started the game, Centennial made it 3-1 at the 1:26 mark of the third period as the puck bounced off Huskies goalie Maddie Rooney’s shoulder and into the goal.
From that point on the Cougars really focused on clogging the area in front of their net to limit Andover’s scoring chances.
Andover broke onto the scoreboard at the 5:08 point as McKenzie Aguilar taped in power play goal with assists from Abbie Turpin and Sierra Langlie.
“I think we were rattled to go down by three but they faught back to get down two but I don’t know if it was puck luck or what but it didn’t go our way,” Monahan said. “Not to take anything away from Centennial but they got the bounces you need in a section game.”
Centennial added two more goals including a shorthander with 4:12 to go for the final score.
The Cougars outshot Andover 33-24 in what Monahan chalked up to valuable experience for Rooney. “She’s been a great goaltender all year and you can’t take anything away from what she did,” Monahan said. “She’s a big reason why we were successful and won the conference.
“It does nothing but create a stronger kid going into the future.”
As for playing in the pressure-filled atmosphere of a section game where it is win or else, Monahan said, “There is no atmosphere like this in our game. And from here it just gets more stressful and nerve-racking.”
While the Huskies graduate seven seniors, look for a strong junior and sophomore group next fall that includes the top five scores, top three defensemen and starting goalie to return with eyes set on a deeper section run in 2014.
No. 6 Irondale 1, No. 3 Blaine 0
Irondale senior defenseman Jessica Mularie saw a chance to crash the Blaine net and at 6:56 into the third period, she redirected a pass from behind Blaine’s net past Bengals goalie Courtney Jensrud to break a scoreless draw Feb. 9.
The final Section 5AA game of the day went the same way as the previous two went – with the underdog congratulating each other afterword on the ice in a third-straight upset.
Blaine struggled to string together passes and ultimately quality scoring chances. The Bengals were limited to just three shots in the final period and 13 in the game after averaging 31 shots per game.
“We did not play well,” Blaine coach Steve Guider said. “Puck movement was awful.
A lot of watching the puck and standing around. I don’t think the better team won but they played better than us.”
The Bengals finished second in the Northwest Suburban Conference and finished the season 17-9-0 while Irondale, the No. 6 seed is 17-8-1.
“A 16-win team as the sixth seed doesn’t happen that often but it shows the depth in the section, just like in our conference, top to bottom and it really comes down to who happens to show up that night wins,” he said. “We didn’t show up. We played tentative but had [a win] in our hands to do something with it and we did nothing. “We wanted to win it but we didn’t do what it takes to win it.”
Bengals goalie Courtney Jensrud gave a great effort to keep the team in the game with numerous highlight-reel saves with a leg pad, blocker, stick or snapping the glove on occasion. Guider, who is known as a standout goalie instructor, said Jensrud saved her best performance of the season for sections. “Hats off to her, best game she’s played all year,” he said.