For the third time this season Elk River skated off the ice with a win over Andover (12-12-2).
This time the 4-1 result spelled the end of the season for the sixth-seed Andover squad, who led 1-0 after Tyler Tomberlin scored his 12th goal of season with 1:08 left in the second period of the Section 7AA quarterfinal. Tomberlin led the Huskies with 31 points this season.
Elk River won the previous meetings 4-1 Dec. 8 and 6-5 in overtime Jan. 15.
Third-seed Elk River (17-10-0, ranked 15th in Class AA) scored four times and outshot the Huskies 13-5 in the final period.
Andover coach Mark Manney said his team felt good coming into sections winners in eight of 10 games. “But the trouble is in scoring goals and the more we leaned on the scorers the tougher it was to score,” he said.
The Huskies scored 50 fewer times this season compared with the 2011-12 team, which lost in the section final, Manney said.
The Elks tied the game on a power play goal from Jacob Jaremko at 5:14 and scored the game winner less than six minutes later when Andrew Zerban lit the lamp. Jaremko collected his second goal of the period to make it 3-1 with 53 seconds left. Elk River added an empty-netter with 17 seconds left to seal the Huskies fate.
“We had chances but we didn’t capitalize,” Manney said.
The Elks tied the game early in the third period only to have the Huskies clank the puck off the crossbar. One minute later the Elks marched back down to the Andover goal and made it 2-1.
“The air just left the bench after that goal,” Manney said. “The game wasn’t one-sided. Elk River got the job done and they deserve it.”
Manney felt junior goalie Chase Perry kept the visitors in the game early. “They had a couple chances early and they were buzzing our end and he shut them down and got into an early rhythm,” Manney said.
The Huskies had trouble settling down early as pucks skipped off sticks and the Elks outshot Andover 8-6 in the opening period.
His side held the pace of play in the middle period but wasn’t rewarded with a goal, Manney said.
“Like I told them, if you miss your chances, it will come back to bite you,” he said.
Andover knew they needed to get a body in front of Elks goalie MacLean Berglove to have a chance and the Elks countered by denying space around the goal. Berglove made 21 saves compared with Perry’s 17 stops.
“At the end of the day, they did a great job of blocking us out,” Manney said.
“It hurts not being able to get back to Duluth, but we made our bed in late December to early January. We had our moments. Like the win against Eden Prairie and tying Centennial after the holiday break.”
Scoring seemed to be the major difference for the Huskies this season. Manney said last season’s opposition goalies had a .850 save percentage compared with 2012-13 season at .920.
Grand Rapids 6,
St. Francis 2
Almost two months after the first meeting of the season, No. 7 seed St. Francis (16-11-0) returned to the IRA Civic Center looking for a second win over No. 2 Grand Rapids Grand Rapids in a Section 7AA quarterfinal Feb. 19.
The Thunderhawks scored four times in the final period for a 6-2 win over St. Francis.
Fighting Saints Cameron Kaehler tied the game midway through the first period on the power play. Senior Zach Foesch tied the game again at the 11:31 mark of the second period with his team high 38th goal and 63rd point as Kyle Wagner collected his second assist of the game and 41st of the season.
Grand Rapids’ Avery Peterson scored the game winner just 37 seconds into the final period with assists from Jake Bischoff and Jonah Bischoff. The line scored two more times less than eight minutes into the period.