They got in by way of a forfeit due to eligibility issues with Achiever Academy and Wednesday night they proved they belonged in the state tournament as Joie Phelps scored two goals to lead St.Paul United to a 5-2 win over the Proctor/Hermantown Mirage in the Class A quarterfinals at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
It was the first state tournament appearance of the cooperative program featuring students from St. Paul Academy and Visitation.
Lauren Boettcher scored the first period's only goal for SPU after rebounding Phelps' shot, circling around the net and scoring on a wraparound.
SPU extended the margin to two on Lea Groebe's goal with Caroline Mulligan picking up an assist. The Mirage entered the scoring column when Sophie McGovern's shot deflected off SPU goalie Caroline Johnson and entered the net. Phelps would wrap up the second period scoring on a rebound from a shot that bounced off the boards behind the net.
McGovern would begin the third period scoring for P/H with her second goal on a power play. But SPU came back with 3:07 left. Alev Baysov, who has dual residency in the United States and Turkey fed Kate Hallett and sent a line drive from the left point into the goal. Phelps would solidify SPU's first state tournament win with :23.9 remaining as she sent the puck like a car driving down Kellogg Blvd. and into the empty net.
The Mirage out shot SPU 26-21.
David Cole, SPU's first year coach commented on the legacy of Charlie Stryker, who coached the program until his passing in 2003.
"Charlie Stryker is a monumental coach in the state of Minnesota," he said.
Cole also state that the program has a bright future ahead with only three juniors and three seniors. He also mentioned how important the quarterfinal win meant to the program.
""We are respected now. We want to be revered."
SPU, the fifth seed in Class A will face the top seeded East Grand Forks Green Wave Friday, February 21 at 11 AM at the Xcel Energy Center. They improved their record to 17-8-2. P/H, the fourth seed, fell to 18-10 and takes on Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato in the consolation semifinals Thursday, February 20 at noon at Ridder Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.