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Girls hockey: Cardinals tame Tigers in 2A

Tribune photo by Brooke Kern Willmar’s Annie Johnston makes a move on Hutchinson’s Sam Hantge in a Section 2A playoff game on Thursday in Willmar.

WILLMAR — The Willmar girls hockey team’s coaching staff has been stressing to players the importance of scoring first. Getting on the board early takes away a lot of pressure and opens up the offense.

The Cardinals picked a perfect time to put that advice into action.

Willmar scored twice in the first two minutes of the game and rolled Hutchinson out of the Section 2A playoffs with a 5-0 win Thursday at the Cardinal Arena.

Shelby Schneider scored nine seconds into the game and Annie Johnston followed that up with a power play goal at 2:47 of the first period.

“We knew the game would be played at a fast tempo and (Schneider’s goal) is exactly what we needed,” said Willmar head coach JaColby Anderson. “We got that first goal and just kept going.”

The Cardinals, the section’s No. 3 seed, plays at Mankato East/Loyola on Saturday. The game time has not been determined due to potential weather issues.

Mankato/Loyola advanced with an 8-1 win over St. Peter/LeSueuer/Henderson/Tri-City United on Thursday.

Willmar is 14-9-1 while Mankato East/Loyola is 21-5. Willmar hung one of those losses on the Cougars, 5-2, on Dec. 22, despite being outshot 38-22.

Schneider scored the hat trick and goalie Madison Sandberg made 36 saves in that game.

“We’re going to have to play the same kind of game: forechecking, clearing the slot and cutting down on rebounds will be huge,” Anderson said. “(Sandberg) really kept us in that game so we’re going to have to defend and we’re going to need her to come up big for us again.”

Sandberg made 25 saves to record the shutout on Thursday. The Cardinals’ Lauren Sing scored the team’s third goal in the first period and Allison Freese scored her first varsity goal at 2:39 of the second period and Samantha Block scored unassisted at 16:06 of the second.

Hutchinson finished 2-21-2 following four straight Section 2 titles and trips to the Class A state tournament.

Willmar 5, Hutchinson 0

Hutchinson (2-21-2)    0  0  0 — 0

Willmar (14-10-1)    3  2  0 — 5

FIRST PERIOD – W: Shelby Schneider 0:09 … W: Annie Johnston (Brittney Serbus, Miranda Roelofs) 2:47 pp … W: Lauren Sing (Schneider, Brooke Mayer)

SECOND PERIOD – W: Allison Freese (Serbus) 2:39 … Samantha Block 16:06

THIRD PERIOD – No scoring

GOALIE SAVES – H: Quin McCormick 31 … W: Madison Sandberg 25

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

(320) 214-4372