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The Alexandria girls’ hockey team celebrates on the ice as the Cardinals accept their Section 6A championship trophy at the MAC in St. Cloud last Friday night. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Back to state

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For the second consecutive season, the Alexandria girls’ hockey team is making an appearance at the State Girls’ Hockey Tournament in St. Paul.

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The Cardinals wrapped up another Section 6A title by beating Fergus Falls 4-1 in St. Cloud on Friday. Once again, the Cardinals found themselves trailing by a goal midway through the second period. But Rachel Drew scored two second-period goals to permanently erase the deficit, and the Cardinals never looked back.

“It felt great,” Drew said. “You always dream about being the hero, or scoring the big goal.”

Fergus Falls’ Abby Hobbs scored the only goal of the first period as the Otters held a 1-0 lead. Fergus Falls took that lead all the way to 13:28 of the second period, when Drew scored to tie the game.

Once they were on the board, the Cardinals’ offense began to roll. Sam Klimek gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 13:28, and then Drew scored her second goal at 16:06 of the second period.

Mari Wosepka added an insurance goal at 4:30 of the third period to give Alexandria a 4-1 lead.

The Cardinals breathed a sigh of relief once they evened the score in the second period. Alexandria head coach Blair Hovel noticed the forwards started to position themselves better in the offensive zone during the second half of the game.

“The person without the puck was starting to do their job and get in position to have those opportunities,” Hovel said. “When you look at a couple of those goals, our girl went to the high slot area or the low slot area, depending on where that puck was, and they were wide open.”

Amy Jost played a strong game in net, stopping 29 of the 30 Fergus Falls shots on goal.

The Otters were confident about their chances once they took an early 1-0 lead, but head coach Matt Koalska could feel the momentum shift once Alexandria put in that first goal.

“It’s always nice in a section final game or a playoff game to score first, and we were able to do that,” Koalska said. “We just tried to play our pace or play our game. When Alex got their first one they seemed to pick it up a little bit.”

Now that the Cardinals are headed back to the state tournament for the second consecutive season, they will look to carry their offensive production that they saw in the second and the third period against Fergus Falls.

“We want to play our best, and play like we know we can,” Alexandria’s McKenzie Revering said. “Really pick it up and step up to what our coaches expect from us.”

Just as they did in 2013, the Cardinals were slated to face the second seed in the first round of the tournament. This year Alexandria faces The Blake School, which has an overall record of 20-7-1 this season.

The Bears were ranked fifth in the February 12 Let’s Play Hockey polls. The Cardinals enter the tournament 14-11-1 and 16th in those same polls. The two teams will take the ice at the Xcel Energy Center at 11 a.m. today, Wednesday.

“We’ve got to go down there and we’ve got to compete and play our game,” Hovel said.

GAME RESULTS

FERGUS FALLS 1 0 0 – 1

ALEXANDRIA 0 3 1 – 4

SHOTS – FERGUS FALLS (8, 14, 8) – 30; ALEXANDRIA (11, 12, 15) – 38

SCORING – FIRST PERIOD – Fergus Falls – Abby Hobbs (Sydney Kuehl, Annie Magnusson), 11:35

SECOND PERIOD – Alexandria – Rachel Drew (Nicole Bartels, Mari Wosepka), 13:28; Sam Klimek (McKenzie Revering, Melissa Drown), 13:28; Drew (Hanah Hansen, Wosepka), 16:06

THIRD PERIOD – Alexandria – Wosepka (Hansen, Schroeder), 4:30

GOALTENDING – ALEXANDRIA – Amy Jost, 29 saves on 30 shots; FERGUS FALLS – Katie Shelstad, 34 saves on 38 shots

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Blaze Fugina
Blaze Fugina is a sports reporter at the Echo Press. Before working in Alexandria, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. He previously worked as the community editor of the Mound Laker for more than a year. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.
(320) 763-1230
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