High School Hockey: Willmar Cards breathe easier after 5-0 win

Northern Lakes kept it tied for a while in 6A semifinal before Willmar pulled away

031921.S.WCT.Willmar GH Nina Dawson
Willmar junior forward Nina Dawson buries a rebound past Northern Lakes sophomore goaltender Katherine Stephens during Thursday's Section 6A semifinal from the Willmar Civic Center. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — Last season, the Willmar girls hockey team needed double overtime to move past Northern Lakes en route to its first state appearance in 17 years.

The rematch Thursday night was less of a nailbiter.

The Cardinals used a pair of short bursts to defeat the Lightning 5-0 in a Section 6A semifinal from the Willmar Civic Center.

Willmar is the No. 1 seed in Section 6A. Northern Lakes is No. 4. The Cardinals are host No. 2 River Lakes at 7 p.m. Saturday with the section title on the line. The Stars advanced after beating No. 3 Fergus Falls 4-1.

Photo Gallery: Northern Lakes Lightning at Willmar Cardinals


Willmar outshot the Lightning 16-7 in the first period, but the scoreboard read 0-0 going into the first intermission. The home team failed to cash in on a number of centering passes and one-timers in front of the net, but were successful in creating traffic in front of Northern Lakes sophomore goaltender Katherine Stephens.

The Cardinals finally were able to strike 4 minutes, 16 seconds into the second. After Lightning sophomore defenseman Emily Traut was whistled for tripping, the hosts got on the board when Bailey Olson found Madison Garberding open in front of the net. Stephens got a piece of Garberding’s shot with her stick, but the puck fluttered over her right shoulder and into the back of the net.

Willmar needed just 24 seconds to extend the lead. Picking the puck in the defensive zone, Nina Dawson split a pair of defenseman on a rush to the net. The junior forward’s wrist shot was stopped, but she buried home the rebound to make it 2-0.

In the third, the home team scored three goals in just over two minutes.

Olson made it 3-0 when she deflected a Garberding shot into the net with 11:19 left in regulation. Tanna Christensen increased the advantage 61 seconds later after she finished a rebound from a Dawson shot. Dawson ended the scoring when she scored a unassisted, shorthanded goal with 8:18 left.

By night’s end, Willmar outshot the visitors 53-16. Sophomore Halle Mortensen made 16 saves for the shutout.

Willmar 5,
Northern Lakes 0

Northern Lakes (9-11-0) 0 0 0 — 0
Willmar (12-6-1) 0 2 3 — 5
FIRST PERIOD – No scoring
SECOND PERIOD – (1) W: Madison Garberding (Bailey Olson), 4:16 PP ... (2) W: Nina Dawson (Becca Dawson, Jaidon Bredesen), 4:40
THIRD PERIOD – (3) W: Olson (Garberding, Kessa Mara), 5:41 ... (4) W: Tanna Christensen (N. Dawson), 6:42 ... (5) W: N. Dawson (unassisted), 7:42 SH
GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – NL: Katherine Stephens 48/53 … W: Halle Mortensen 16/16

River Lakes 4,
Fergus Falls 1

River Lakes advanced to the Section 6A title game after putting up three third-period goals in its win over Fergus Falls at Paynesville.

The Stars are the No. 2 seed while the Otters were the No. 3 seed.


With the scored tied 1-1, Hannah Zimmer delivered the game-winner on an unassisted goal 3 minutes, 38 seconds into the third. It was her second goal of the night. Sophia Hess increased the lead 57 seconds later after scoring with assists from Kianna Roeske and Brooke Lemke. Roeske completed the scoring with an unassisted goal with 20 seconds left in the game.

Kaydance Roeske earned the win in net with 27 saves. Ana Jyrkas took the loss after stopping 25 shots.

Fergus Falls (10-9-1) 1 0 0 — 1
River Lakes (12-5-2) 1 0 3 — 4
FIRST PERIOD – (1) RL: Hannah Zimmer (Aubrey Griffin, Myckenzie Cremers), 3:45 PP ... (2) FF: Ellie Anderson (unassisted), 8:27
SECOND PERIOD – No scoring
THIRD PERIOD – (3) RL: Zimmer (unassisted), 3:38 ... (4) RL: Sophia Hess (Kianna Roeske, Brooke Lemke), 4:35 ... (5) RL: Roeske (unassisted), 16:40
GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – FF: Ana Jyrkas 25/29 … RL: Kaydance Roeske 27/28

Willmar 3,
Windom 0

Gavin Steinwand made 20 saves in a shutout performance as the Willmar defeated Windom Area in the Section 3A quarterfinals at Windom.

“We had something to prove going in,” Cardinals head coach Jamie Hagen said. “Our goalie played great; Steinwand was outstanding. It was a fun game and great for our three seniors, that’s for sure.”

Willmar is the No. 5 seed. The Eagles were the No. 4 seed.

Junior Taton Hansen had a pair of goals. He opened the scoring in the second period after receiving an assist from ninth-grader Cullen Gregory. Hansen added an empty-net score with 33 seconds remaining in regulation.

Blake Tersch also added a goal. The senior put the puck in the back of the net with an assist from sophomore Ethan Stark.

The Cardinals play top-seeded Hutchinson next. Hutchinson beat Worthington, 8-1. That game is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Hutchinson.


Willmar (3-16) 0 2 1 — 3
Windom (12-7) 0 0 0 — 0
FIRST PERIOD – No scoring
SECOND PERIOD – (1) Wil: Taton Hansen (Cullen Gregory), 7:02 ... (2) Wil: Blake Tersch (Ethan Stark), 14:28
THIRD PERIOD – (3) W: Hansen (unassisted), 16:27 EN
GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – Wil: Gavin Steinwand 20/20 … Win: Dan Stubbe 21/23

Litchfield/D-C 8,
Luverne 0

Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato scored eight goals on 73 shots to move past Luverne during a Section 3A quarterfinal game at Litchfield.

Litch/D-C is the No. 2 seed. Luverne is the No. 7 seed.

Gavyn Lund scored twice while Keyton Johnson had a goal and two assists to lead the Dragons.
Litch/D-C plays No. 3 New Ulm at 7 p.m. Saturday from Litchfield. The Eagles defeated No. 6 Redwood Valley 8-1.

Luverne (8-12-0) 0 0 0 — 0
Litchfield/D-C (8-8-2) 2 4 2 — 8
FIRST PERIOD – (1) LDC: Daniel Estrada (Gavin Hanson, Keyton Johnson), 5:46 ... (2) LDC: Zach Zwilling (Grant Grochow), 16:42
SECOND PERIOD – (3) LDC: Ryan Schutz (Jack Hillmann), 2:25 ... (4) LDC: Mason Schroeder (Logan Benson), 6:59 ... (5) LDC: Johnson (Grochow), 8:18 ... (6) LDC: Gavyn Lund (Estrada, Johnson), 14:03
THIRD PERIOD – (7) LDC: Wyatt Larson (Grant Haataja), 4:56 ... (8) LDC: Lund (Schutz), 10:18
GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – Lu: Shahid Shearer 65/73 … LDC: Darby Halonen 16/16
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