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2014 Class A girls hockey state tournament preview

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CLASS A STATE GIRLS HOCKEY TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINAL PAIRINGS

Games Played Wednesday, February 19 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul

11:00: Alexandria vs. Blake (Seed 2)

1:00: New Ulm vs. Red Wing (Seed 3)

6:00: Litchfield-Dassel-Cokato vs. East Grand Forks (Seed 1)

8:00: St. Paul United (Seed 50 vs. Proctor-Hermantown (Seed 4)

Examining the Field: The 20th edition of the state girls hockey tournament gets underway with the Alexandria Cardinals facing the second seeded and defending Class A champion Blake Bears. The Cardinals get a tough draw in the Bears, who have a number of returning players from last year's championship team, including Carly Bullock and Jordan Chancellor. Shawn Redi has done an outstanding job as Blake's head coach, in his second season since replacing the late Brano Stanchovsky. They could return on Championship Saturday. They have the talent and experience to contend for another title.

Wrapping up the afternoon session will be the New Ulm Eagles and the third seeded Red Wing Wingers. New Ulm will be playing in its fifth straight tournament though they have never advanced out of the quarterfinals. In order to end that run, the Eagles will have to contend with one of the state's top scorers, the Wingers Nicole Schammel. The Ms. Hockey finalist has been the key to another successful Red Wing season. They are on a roll with 10 consecutive wins and it could be number 11.

Starting the evening session will be the only sub .500 team in the Class A tournament, the Litchfield-Dassel-Cokato Dragons. LDC, seeded second in Section 2A avenged a November loss to top seeded Mankato East/Loyola by beating them in the finals. That's the good news. The bad news is the Dragons have to contend with the top seeded East Grand forks Green Wave. They have played giant killers, coming out of a tough section where they ended Warroad's five year section reign and beat the team their only two losses were against, Thief River Falls. EGF is led by junior Haley Mack and senior goalie Madi Galstad. Watch out for the Green Wave. They are the team to beat.

Concluding Wednesday's quarterfinals will be fifth seeded St. Paul United and the fourth seeded Proctor Hermantown Mirage. If you're wondering "What's St. Paul United doing in this year's tournament?" They got in by way of Achiever Academy forfeiting the Section 4A championship game due to eligibility issues. Can they prove to fans from St. Paul Academy and Visitation they deserved their first trip to state? First they will have to go against the Mirage, a team that has a pair of four game winning streaks this season and could have their first five gamer. Could it be the start of great things to come for the Duluth suburb of Hermantown? The boys team is ranked second in Class A. The girls can get the boys fans fired up for sections with any type of trophy. .

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