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Willmar moves into semifinals

Paul Schrupp, left, of Willmar brings the puck into the Marshall zone with Rory Schneider trailing during the first period of their Section 3A boys hockey playoff game Friday at the Willmar Civic Center. Tribune photo by T.J. Bartelt1 / 2
Landon Baker, center, of Willmar looks to pass to Landon Peterson, left, in the slot as Marshall goalie Mitch Campion watches in the second period Friday. Tribune photo by T.J. Bartelt2 / 2

WILLMAR -- If you keep hammering long enough, the nail will eventually bust through.

That's the way Willmar handled Marshall's red-hot goalie Mitch Campion in the first round of the Section 3A hockey tournament at the Civic Center.

The Cardinals peppered Campion with shot after shot until Trent Fader tapped in a rebound at 11:47 of the second period for a 1-0 lead. Fader's goal was the 35th shot against Campion, who finished with 51 saves.

From there, Willmar went on to a 6-2 victory and advanced into today's semifinal game.

Willmar (11-13), seeded No. 3, will face No. 2. Hutchinson at 4:30 p.m. at the Dakotah Ice Palace in Prior Lake. Top-seeded New Ulm and Litch-field/Dassel-Cokato meet in the other semifinal at 1 p.m. The final is slated for next Friday in St. Peter.

"I thought we kept the pressure on and that's what you want," said Willmar coach Dan Tollefson. "I think at first we didn't get a lot of quality shots on goal. We were shooting right into him. But then we started screening a little better and worked at getting some quality shots.

"We just ran into a hot goaltender and all you can do is keep shooting and hoping they'll start going in. And that's what happened."

Willmar dominated the opening period and outshot Marshall 16-4, but went into the locker room with a scoreless tie.

On the first goal of the game, Schneider fired a shot off Campion's chest that kicked out to Fader, who quickly lifted the puck over Campion's shoulder. Jay Bredberg also assisted on the goal.

Fader also scored the Cardinals' second goal just 15 seconds into the third period on an assist from Landon Peterson.

"We knew if we eventually get one in because we kept the intensity up," said Fader. "It was a little frustrating at first, but we didn't quit. And once we started screening a little more, we got some goals."

Schneider gave Willmar a 3-0 lead with a goal at 9:54 on assists from Bredberg and Landon Baker.

"We just kept hammering away on the goalie," said Schneider. "We moved the puck around better after the first period and started crashing the net to get a body in front of him."

Matt Odom's goal at 11:53 gave Willmar a 4-0 lead.

At the other end, Willmar goalie Ben Leitch was rarely tested, although he did make a few stellar stops. He finished with 11 saves. But his shutout was spoiled with 2:41 remaining in the game when Danny Hansen trickled in a shot through the five-hole.

Peterson scored Willmar's fifth goal on a power play at 15:01. Marshall scored 28 seconds later on Aaron's Antony goal before Willmar's Zach Chester closed the scoring with an empty-net goal.

Willmar 6, Marshall 2

Marshall (14-13) 0 0 2 -- 2

Willmar (11-13) 0 1 5 -- 6

FIRST PERIOD - No scoring

SECOND PERIOD - Wil: Trent Fader (Jay Bredberg, Rory Schneider), 11:47

THIRD PERIOD - Wil: Fader (Landon Peterson), :15 ... Wil: Schneider (Bredberg, Landon Baker), 9:54 ... Wil: Matt Odom (Gabe Amon, Liam Johnston), 11:53 ... Mar: Danny Hansen (Nathan Schaeffer, Ryne Hanson), 14:19 ... Wil: Peterson (Odom, Amon), 15:01, pp ... Mar: Aaron Antony (Hansen, Hanson), 15:29 ... Wil: Zach Chester (Jake Tone), 16:45, en

GOALIE SAVES - Marshall: Mitch Campion 16-21-14--51 ... Willmar: Ben Leitch 4-5-2--11