Section girls hockey: River Lakes Stars are headed back to state
River Lakes upends top-seeded Fergus Falls 3-1 in the Section 6A final. The second-seeded Stars play Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul against an opponent to be determined.
ALEXANDRIA — The River Lakes girls hockey team has earned a return trip to the state tournament.
The Stars did it the hard way, beating top-seeded and state-ranked Fergus Falls 3-1 in the Section 6A championship match Saturday night at the Runestone Community Center.
River Lakes (16-12) found out Sunday that it plays top-seeded Warroad (23-3-1) in the state Class A tournament at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The top five teams are seeded by participating coaches on-line. The three teams not in the top five are randomly selected opponents. That's what happened to River Lakes.
Other first-round games include Mankato East (21-5) vs. No. 2 Orono (24-3) at 11 a.m., followed by Albert Lea (14-10-1) vs. No. 3 Proctor/Hermantown (19-7-1) at 1 p.m.. The final game Wednesday is No. 5 Luverne (23-3) vs. No. 4 South St. Paul (15-10-2) at 8 p.m.
The semifinals are at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday and the championship final is 4 p.m. Saturday.
Fergus Falls, ranked seventh in Class A, beat River Lakes twice during the Central Lakes Conference season. The Otters won 1-0 Nov. 30 in Paynesville and 5-1 Dec. 21 in Fergus Falls.
Second-seeded River Lakes won the 6A title last year to earn its first state berth in the co-op’s history. The Stars are made up of athletes from Rocori, Albany, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, New London-Spicer and Paynesville.
The game was rescheduled from Friday because of blizzard-like conditions in Alexandria and Fergus Falls.
River Lakes got two goals from Sophia Hess. The forward opened the scoring at 6:24 of the first period to score unassisted. That score held until the third period.
Kianna Roeske found the net for the Stars’ second goal at 1:25, getting an assist from Jordyn Bebus.
Hess then sealed the deal with a shorthanded goal from Hess at 9:56.
Fergus Falls’ Piper Andrews scored unassisted on the power play right away at 10:04. But that’s as close as the Otters would get.
Kaydence Roeske stopped 27 of 28 shots to earn the win in goal.
To get to state last season, River Lakes beat Willmar 3-2 in the final after knocking off Fergus Falls 4-1 in the semifinals. The Stars then lost 4-1 to Gentry Academy in the first round of the state tournament at the X.
River Lakes 3, Fergus Falls 1
River Lakes (16-12) 1 0 2 — 3
Fergus Falls (19-6-2) 0 0 1 — 1
FIRST PERIOD – (1) RL: Sophia Hess (unassisted), 6:24.
SECOND PERIOD – No scoring.
THIRD PERIOD –(2) RL: Kianna Roeske (Jordyn Bebus) 1:25 … (3) RL: Hess (unassisted) 9:56, SH … (4) FF: Piper Andrews (unassisted) 10:04, PP.
GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – River Lakes: Kaydence Roeske 27/28 … Fergus Falls: Ana Jyrkas 19/22