Just over 48 hours after an exciting but grueling victory in the section 1A girls’ hockey championships, the Eagles have an even bigger mountain ahead of them.
Lourdes (9-8-0) opens the Class A state tournament on Friday at 11am at the Xcel Energy Center against No. 2 seeded and No. 3 ranked Warroad (19-1-0).
The Warriors, the Section 8A champions, have won 14 consecutive games, including knocking out both opponents in the section playoffs with a combined score of 13-0.
Lourdes, meanwhile, dramatically earned his third consecutive trip to the Class A state tournament on Friday.
The Eagles led Albert Lea 2-1 for most of the third period in the Section 1A title game, but the Tigers Josie Venem directed a shot from fellow senior Ally Rasmussen past Lourdes goalkeeper Ida Huber to the balance. 2-2.
Lourdes senior defender Maggie Hanzel, however, had experienced this before. A year ago, in the state quarter-finals, South St. Paul scored late in the third period of a game at the Xcel Energy Center to force OT. Lourdes won that match one minute in extra time.
Hanzel did not want it to get past the third period.
“I really didn’t want the game to be overtime,” she said. “I hate working overtime.”
So, the Boston University commit made the puck tap to play within 10 seconds. She skated through the neutral zone at speed and then through two Tigers defenders. The puck slammed back onto her stick and at close range, she defeated Albert Lea goalkeeper Maddie Schneider with a quick shot to rock the Eagles bench and send her team back to the state.
CLASS A STATE TOURNAMENT
At Xcel Energy Center
FRIDAY, MARCH 26
Lourdes (9-8-0) vs. No. 2 Warroad (19-1-0), 11am
Luverne (16-4-0) vs. No. 3 Proctor / Hermantown (18-0-0), 1:00 pm
River Lakes (13-5-2) vs. No. 1 Gentry Academy (17-2-0), 6:00 pm
No. 5 Mound Westonka / W / SWC (14-2-0) vs. No. 4 Chisago Lakes (18-2-0), 8 p.m.
THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Lourdes / Warroad Winner vs. Luverne / PH winner, 11am
Winner RL / GA vs. winner MW / CL 1:00 pm
SATURDAY APRIL 3
Semifinal winners, 11am
STATE TOURNAMENT OF CLASS AA
At Xcel Energy Center
SATURDAY, MARCH 27
Centennial (16-5-0) vs. No. 2 Edina (19-0-0), 11am
Alexandria Area (14-4-2) vs. No. 3 Minnetonka (3/15/3), 1:00 PM
Farmington (11-8-1) vs. No. 1 Andover (20-0-0), 6:00 pm
No. 5 Eastview (4-15-2) vs. No. 4 Stillwater Area (2/19/1), 8pm
THURSDAY, APRIL 1
Centennial / Edina Winner vs. AA / Minnetonka winner, 6pm
Farm./Andover Winner vs. Eastview / SA winner, 8pm
SATURDAY APRIL 3
Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.
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