WILLMAR — The Willmar WarHawks have a three-game series with the Granite City Lumberjacks beginning Thursday when the NA3HL Fraser Cup playoffs get underway.

Willmar seeks its first playoff victory since forming in 2011-12.

The WarHawks open against Granite City at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Armadillo Deck Sports Arena in Sauk Rapids.

Willmar is then host to Granite City at 6:10 p.m. Friday at the Willmar Civic Center Arena. Because of the easing of pandemic restrictions that take place April 1 (Thursday), Willmar will be allowed to sell up to 750 tickets for the game.

The third game between the two teams, if needed, is 7:30 p.m. Saturday back in Sauk Rapids.

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Willmar, with a 22-18-0 record, is the third seed in the NA3HL West Division. Granite City (27-12-0-1) is the second seed.

The other first-round, three-game series from the NA3HL West features fourth-seeded Alexandria (17-20-1-2) playing the top-seeded North Iowa Bulls (27-11-1-1).

The Willmar/Granite City winner faces the North Iowa/Alexandria winner in the second round of the playoffs.

The WarHawks are coming off arguably their most successful season in team history.

Their top scorers have been Jack Willis (9 goals, 23 assists), Isaiah Thomas (8G, 21A) and Michael Sweetland (14G, 14A). Willmar has eight players with 20 or more points and 19 players who have scored 10 or more points.

The WarHawks’ top goalies have been Lukas Haugen and Will Pinney. Haugen has a 7-6 record in net with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage. Pinney is 8-1 with a 2.62 GAA and .912 save percentage.

CMCS gets 2nd seed

Central Minnesota Christian senior guard Blake Greenwaldt screams with excitement as he heads to the bench in the later stages of the Bluejays' 68-59 victory in Tuesday's Section 3A-North title game over Lac qui Parle Valley from the Lac qui Parle Valley High School. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune
Central Minnesota Christian senior guard Blake Greenwaldt screams with excitement as he heads to the bench in the later stages of the Bluejays' 68-59 victory in Tuesday's Section 3A-North title game over Lac qui Parle Valley from the Lac qui Parle Valley High School. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune

The Central Minnesota Christian boys basketball team got the second seed in the southern pod of the Class A state tournament. The Bluejays (18-4) play Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s (19-3) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Mankato East High School in the quarterfinals. St. Mary’s is the third seed in the South.

CMCS and St. Mary’s are in the same side of the bracket with Nevis (20-2) and Hancock (17-5). Nevis is the North’s top seed and Hancock is the North No. 4.

Teams were broken down into two pods based on geography for this year only because of the pandemic. Quarterfinal games are across the state with the four Wednesday winners advancing to the state semifinals at 10 a.m. and noon April 7 at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

The Class A championship is 1 p.m. April 10 at Target Center.

Boys Basketball: CMCS rallies to earn a state berth

State Boys Basketball

Tournament

Class A

Quarterfinals Wednesday

N4-Hancock (17-5) vs. N1-Nevis (20-2), 5 p.m. at Perham.

S3-Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s (19-3) vs. S2-Central Minnesota Christian (18-4), 7:30 p.m. at Mankato East.

S4-Hayfield (18-4) vs. S1-Legacy Christian Academy (20-1), 4:30 p.m. at Rochester Mayo.

N3-Badger/Greenbush-Middle River (19-3) vs. N2-Deer River (20-2), 6 p.m. at Pequot Lakes.

Semifinals Wednesday, April 7

(at Target Center, Minneapolis)

TBD, 10 a.m.

TBD, noon

Final Saturday, April 10

(at Target Center, Minneapolis)

Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.



Class AA

Quarterfinals Tuesday

N3-Fergus Falls (15-7) vs. N2-Annandale (18-1), 8 p.m. at Alexandria.

Quarterfinals Wednesday

N4-Moose Lake/Willow River (18-3) vs. N1-Minneapolis North (14-1), 1 p.m. at Osseo.

S3-St. Croix Academy (20-1) vs. S2-Caledonia (21-1), 7:30 p.m. at Rochester Mayo.

S4-Morris/Chokio-Alberta (19-2) vs. S1-Waseca (20-1), 4 p.m. at Chanhassen.

Semifinals Wednesday, April 7

(at Target Center, Minneapolis)

TBD, 2 p.m.

TBD, 5 p.m.

Final Saturday, April 10

(at Target Center, Minneapolis)

Semifinal winners, 3 p.m. at Target Center.