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State girls hockey: Warroad too much for River Lakes

The unseeded Stars fall 7-0 to top-seeded Warriors in the state Class A quarterfinals in St. Paul.

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River Lakes senior Paige Blattner, 16, skates toward the bench after Warroad scored a goal to go up 3-0 during the first period of a Class A state quarterfinal game on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
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ST. PAUL — River Lake girls hockey saw its hopes of advancing in the Class A state tournament fade with a 7-0 loss to top-seeded Warroad on Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center.

The loss ends the Stars' chances of reaching the semifinals of the state tournament for the second consecutive season.

The Stars play the fifth-seeded Luverne Cardinals in the consolation semifinals at noon Thursday at the TRIA rink in St. Paul.

In other Class A quarterfinals, Orono beat Mankato East 7-1, Proctor/Hermantown defeated Albert Lea 6-2 and South St. Paul beat Luverne 3-1.

Warroad, located at the top of Minnesota, and nearly 20 minutes by vehicle from the Canadian border, made the large ice rink look like an average high school rink with its quick-witted defense and suffocating offense.

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River Lakes sophomore Aubree McDonagh, 4, lines up a shot in front of a Warroad defender during the first period of a Class A state quarterfinal game on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

“I think our home ice back (in Warroad) is really big,” Warriors’ junior Cahlilah Lindquist said. “It helps that we know a big rink and we know how to play on a big rink and we know how to connect and play with each other really well.”

River Lakes head coach Alexis Klatt said the Stars were more prepared coming into the match-up on Wednesday.

“It was nice going into the game,” Klatt said. “The majority of the girls on our roster were able to play here last year so it was nice to go into it knowing that they’ve been on this stage before.”

The majority of Wednesday's match-up seemed to be played on the Stars' side of the rink. River Lakes freshman goalie Kaydence Roeske was bombarded, saving

55 of 62 shots on net (.887%). Warriors goalie Kendra Nordick made 11 saves.

Continued tournament coverage from the West Central Tribune.

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River Lakes senior Kianna Roeske, 15, and Warroad's Abbey Reule fight for position in the Stars' zone during the Class A state quarterfinals on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

“We had a bunch of younger girls, eighth-graders and freshmen, step up, including our goalie (Kaydence Roeske),” River Lakes captain Kianna Roeske said. “She played outstanding. She almost had a .900 save percentage. They stepped up. They played their royals and they did what they had to and they played amazing today.”

Wednesday’s loss is the Stars’ fourth shutout loss this season.

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River Lakes senior Jordyn Bebus, right, and Warroad's Katierie Sandy go after the loose puck along the boards during the first period of a Class A state quarterfinal game on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

The last time the Warriors played against the Stars was in November of 2018 when the Warriors won 5-0.

“They’re a really deep team,” Klatt said. “You can tell that they know their systems and they know them very well. They fill the ice and their decisions are so quick that it’s hard to react to.

“I think our girls did well in executing what we had worked with them but you can only do so much against a team of this caliber.”

Warriors’ head coach David Marvin credited the Stars for returning to the state tournament.

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River Lakes freshman Kaydence Roeske, 31, keeps an eye on the puck during the first period of a Class A state quarterfinals game against Warroad on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

“I thought River Lakes was better than an eighth seed,” he said. “I thought our team responded really well tonight. We didn’t take them lightly and we played fast and I thought we really got after them.”

Following the opening puck drop, Warroad wasted little time in scoring its first goal by Tayla Hendrickson off a rebound at 2:13.

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Warroad's Tayla Hendrickson celebrates with the Warriors' bench after scoring a first-period goal in the Class A state quarterfinals against River Lakes on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Things became interesting when midway through the first period, Cahlilah Lindquist narrowly connected with the back of the top goal post, with the puck barely crossing the blue line.

As Lindquist celebrated the goal with her teammates the puck bounced out of the net and back into play. River Lakes picked up the puck on a now wide-open rink, including an open net as Nordick celebrated the goal, allowing Stars’ sophomore defenseman Aubree McDonagh to seemingly score an open-netter. That would have tied the score at 1-1.

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Fans greet the River Lakes girls hockey team in the tunnel prior to the start of the Class A state quarterfinals against Warroad on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

“It kind of was just a little confusion for both teams obviously,” Kianna Roeske said. “There was no whistle, nobody heard a whistle, so we just knew that we had to keep playing and finish until there was a whistle.”

After a few minutes of the play being under review, Lindquist was given the goal, making the score 2-0 Warroad.

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Warroad's Katy Comstock takes a shot from the blue line during the first period of a Class A state quarterfinal game against River Lakes on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

“Cahlilah’s goal was huge,” Marvin said. “That could have been quite a story if we didn’t have instant replay.”

Lindquist added: “I was scared. Coach yelled at me and said that he hoped it was a goal. But it was really exciting that they could go back and look at it.”

Kianna Roeske explained how it felt on the River Lakes side.

“I was just thinking that whatever happens, happens,” Kianna Roeske said. “If their goal was called — which it was — we can’t get down on ourselves. We still had so much game left to play and obviously we were hoping that was our goal but we were going to take whatever they gave us and just keep playing.”

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River Lakes sophomore Aubree McDonagh, 4, and freshman Ayla McLellan, 6, celebrate on what appeared to be a Stars goal in the first period of a Class A state quarterfinal game against Warroad on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The goal was waived off while the Warriors were credited with a goal on their end.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Warroad scored once more, in the first period. This time it came off the first power-play of the afternoon. It gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead at the first intermission.

After out-shooting the Stars 26-5 in the first period, the Warriors continued to dominate the puck possession by out-shooting the Stars 21-4 in the second period. They scored twice in the period to take a 5-0 lead. They then out-shot River Lakes 15-2 in the third.

The Warriors scored twice in the third, the first from Kate Johnson 44 seconds into the period. That kicked in a running clock throughout the remainder of the contest.

River Lakes’ chances of advancing may be over, but not its season as the team now prepares to play in the consolation bracket.

“It for sure keeps us positive right now, knowing that we wanted to win that game but we still got something to work for and look forward to the rest of the week," Kianna Roeske said.

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Fans cheer on the River Lakes girls hockey team at the start of the Class A state quarterfinals against Warroad on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Warroad 7, River Lakes 0

River Lakes (16-13)          0     0     0 — 0
Warroad (24-3-1)           3     2     2 — 7

FIRST PERIOD –  (1) W: Tayla Hendrickson (Abbey Reule, Kate Johnson), 02:13 … (2) W: Cahlilah Lindquist (Johnson, Lila Lanctot), 11:49 … (3) W: Kaiya Sandy (Abby Chamernick, Tayla Hendrickson) PP 14:00. 

SECOND PERIOD –  (4) W: Katy Comstock (Kai. Sandy, Linnea Harren), 03:35 … (5) W: Lanctot (Katierie Sandy, Kai. Sandy), 08:10

THIRD PERIOD – (6) W: Johnson (Hendrickson), 00:44 … (7) W: Maddie Skogman (Madison Lavergne, Abbey Reule), 15:38

GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – River Lakes: Kaydence Roeske (L) 55/62 … Warroad: Kendra Nordick (W) 11/11.

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River Lakes eighth-grader Abby Storms, right, fist-bumps sophomore Aubree McDonagh, 4, during pre-game introductions prior to the Class A state quarterfinals against Warroad on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

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Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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