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Hutch ousts Willmar from girls hockey playoffs again

Willmar's Kayte Cole, left, and Lauren Sing, right, are unable to get a shot off despite Hutchinson goalie Mary Cummins being out of position in the second period Saturday in the Section 2A girls hockey semifinals Saturday at the Willmar Civic Center. (Tribune photo by Rand Middleton)

WILLMAR -- For the second year in a row, the Hutchinson Tigers knocked the Willmar Cardinals out of the section playoffs.

"They're our nemesis," said Willmar head coach Jason Mayer.

Even though the Cardinals were seeded a rung higher at No. 2, the Tigers distanced themselves from the host team on Saturday night at the Civic Center 5-1 in the girls hockey Section 2A semifinal round.

The Tigers erased Willmar in last year's section final, by the same score.

The Tigers' junior center, Sara Carlson, displayed her considerable skills early on skating around two Cardinals and then releasing a hard, low shot from high in the slot that beat Willmar netminder Baylie Young on the glove side for a 1-0 lead.

Willmar tied it 10 minutes later at 14:27 of the first period. Miranda Roelofs scrummed around the crease to direct the puck to the left circle where Lauren Sing one-timed it glove side past Tigers' goalie Mary Cummins.

Carlson, who is Hutchinson's all-time leading scorer boys or girls, gave her team the lead for good with a laser shot to the upper corner from 30 feet at 4:02 of the second period. She added an empyt-net goal in the last minute and now has 45 goals and 29 assists this season.

Willmar had several good chances in the second period. KyLee Hulscher coming down the right wing hit the near pipe with Cummins out of position and later neither Sing nor Kayte Cole could get their stick blade on a bouncing puck at the doorstep with the net momentarily unattended.

Lauren Kirchoff scored in the third period to make it 4-1. Together with Claire Crips, who assisted on Carlson's second goal, the Tigers have three exceptionally-strong skaters capable of making end-to-end runs.

"I think they've been playing varsity together since eighth grade," said Mayer, who coached against the trio in 12U.

"They just made great shots and had way more quality chances," said Mayer. "We had a great effort tonight. Overall, this team kept getting better."

Willmar is young with Linbo and Cole as the lone seniors. But Hutchinson is also young with Cummins and defenseman Melanie Ljungren, who scored the Tigers' third goal, as its lone seniors.

Hutchinson faces Mankato West at St. Peter on Thursday for the Section 2A title.

Hutchinson 5, Willmar 1

Hutchinson (13-13-1) 1 2 2 -- 5

Willmar (10-14-2) 1 0 0 -- 1

FIRST PERIOD - Hut: Sara Carlson (unassisted) 2:27 ... Wil: Lauren Sing (Miranda Roelofs) 14:13

SECOND PERIOD - Hut: Sara Carlson (Claire Cripps) 4;02 ... Melanie Ljungren (unassisted) 7:21

THIRD PERIOD - Wil: Lauren Kirchoff (unassisted) 11:47 ... Hut: Carlson (unassisted) empty net, 16:34

GOALIE SAVES - Hutchinson: Mary Cummins 24 ... Willmar: Baylie Young 34

Result Saturday

Section 8AA

Roseau 7, River Lakes 0

(Quarterfinals) -- The No. 1-seeded Rams (18-7-1) scored four goals in the second period and three more in the third to rout the Stars (6-19-1), who were outshot 44-13.

River Lakes (6-19-1).......0 0 0 -- 0

Roseau (18-7-1)..............0 4 3 -- 7

FIRST PERIOD - no scoring

SECOND PERIOD - Ros: Abby Ness (Megan Foley) 3:36 ... Ros: Ciscely Nelson (Ness, Kate Byfuglien 5:38 ... Ros: Ness (unassisted) 9:16 .. Ros: Ness (unassisted) 13:49

THIRD PERIOD - Ros: Byfuglien (Taylor McFarlane, Ness) 2:29 ... Ros: Grace Olson (Ness, Byfuglien) 2:40 .. Ros: Karlie Hedlund (McFarlane, Byfuglien) 8:20

GOALIE SAVES - River Lakes: Dominique Jungles 37 ... Roseau: Dallas Berry 13

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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