The Road to St. Paul starts getting clearer tonight with the first of 16 girls hockey section finals at the Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights featuring the Burnsville Blaze and the Eastview Lightning battling for the Section 3AA title at 7 PM. Here's the rest of the sectional final pairings.
In Section 1, The Dodge County Wildcats take on the Lakeville North Panthers Thursday at 5 PM in Owatonna.
A pair of section finals will take place on Friday at Ridder Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. The first game will decide the Section 6AA title at 6 PM with the winners of tonight's semifinal games between Hopkins-Wayzata and Minnetonka-Benilde-St. Margaret's. Following that game will be a pair of Lake Conference teams playing for the Section 2AA championship, the Edina Hornets and the Eden Prairie Eagles at 8 PM.
Also on Friday, the Section 4AA championship will pit the Stillwater Ponies and the Hill-Murray Pioneers in a 7:30 game at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood. The Roseville Skating Center will be the site of the Section 5AA final as the Mounds View Mustangs take on the Blaine Bengals. Game time is 7:30.
Sections 7 & 8 will have their championship games Thursday night. The Elk River Elks and Andover Huskies play for the Section 7AA title &:30 at Fogerty Arena in Blaine. The Buffalo Bison and Roseau Rams square off for the Section 8AA championship at & PM in Bemidji.
The Section 1 championship features the New Prague Trojans and the Red Wing Wingers Thursday at 7 PM in Owatonna.
Litchfield-Dassel-Cokato and Mankato East/Loyola will go for the Section 2 title on Thursday at 7:30 at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.
Over in Redwood Falls, the Luverne Cardinals and New Ulm Eagles will meet in the Section 3 championship Thursday at 7:30.
The Section 4 game will pit St. Paul United and the Acheiver Academy Aces on Thursday at St. Thomas Arena in Mendota Heights at 7 PM.
The Section 5 title game will have a familiar ring as the Breck Mustangs and Blake Bears face off at 7:30 at the Parade Ice Garden in Minneapolis.
It's the Fergus Falls Otters and the Alexandria Cardinals meeting for the Section 6 championship Friday at 7 PM in St. Cloud. Also on Friday, Hibbing-Chisholm and Proctor Hermantown face off for the Section 7 title in a 6 PM game at the Cloquet Ice Arena.
Wrapping up the section final lineup will be the East Grand Forks Green Wave and Thief River Falls Prowlers in the Section 8 final 7:PM Thursday in Warroad.
There you have it. The final 32 teams playing for a trip to next week's state tournament in St. Paul.