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Section 6A boys' hockey: Alexandria wins opener

Alexandria seems to have saved its best for the playoffs, handing Sartell-St. Stephen a 4-1 loss in the Section 6A boys' hockey quarterfinals Tuesday.

"The guys played with passion right from the drop of the puck," said head coach Scott Woods. "It was truly a team effort from start to finish."

The Sabres are a familiar opponent for the Cardinals, who faced them twice during the regular season in Central Lakes Conference competition. In the first meeting, just three games into the season, the two teams left the ice in a 2-2 overtime tie, and in the second, Sartell went away with a 3-2 loss.

Alexandria dominated play through both of the first two periods, outshooting the Sabres 11-7 and 15-5, and building up a 4-0 lead by early in the third period.

Ryan Marciniak notched the only goal of the first period on assists from Matt Resch and Tom Schmidt, and in the second period, Toby Helgeson and Matt Resch scored, with assists going to Aaron Steidl, Patrick Leary, Jack Wensman and Schmidt. Leary scored the only Cardinal goal of the third period unassisted.

"[In] the third period, Sartell made a charge," said Woods. "However, the Cardinal defense stood tall. Kevin Finley, Logan Hochsprung, Parker Revering, Christian Canavati, Andrew Rentschler and Steidl were solid on the blue line.

"With about four minutes left, Sartell was finally able to get one in.

Ben Allen got the win in goal for the Redbirds, who will now play top-seeded Little Falls on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the MAC Arena in St. Cloud.

"Team effort and great defensive play will carry a team a long way in the playoffs," said Woods, "and we had both last night."

ALEXANDRIA 4, SARTELL 1

ALEXANDRIA 1 2 1 -- 4

SARTELL 0 0 1 -- 1

FIRST PERIOD

ALEX - Ryan Marciniak (Matt Resch, Tom Schmidt) 11:14.

SECOND PERIOD

ALEX - Toby Helgeson (Aaron Steidl, Patrick Leary) 3:55, ALEX - Matt Resch (Jack Wensman, Tom Schmidt) 7:19.

THIRD PERIOD

ALEX - Patrick Leary (unassisted) 7:35, SAR - Sam Zwiener (Tyler Minnkel, Matt Worzala) 13:06.

SHOTS ON GOAL - Alexandria 11-15-4--30, Sartell-St. Stephen 7-5-10--22.

GOALIE SAVES - Ben Allen, Alexandria, 21; Elliot Brookins, Sartell-SS, 26.

SECTION 6A BOYS' HOCKEY

TEAMS - 1. Little Falls, 2. St. Cloud Apollo, 3. Fergus Falls, 4. Sartell-St. Stephen, 5. Alexandria, 6. Willmar, 7. Wadena-Deer Creek, 8. Morris/Benson Area, 9. Breckenridge/Wahpeton, 10. Prairie Centre.

OPENING ROUND

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16

Wadena-Deer Creek 4, Prairie Center 3

Morris/Benson Area 5, Breckenridge/Wahpeton 2

QUARTERFINALS

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19

Little Falls 5, Morris/Benson Area 1

Alexandria 4, Sartell 1

St. Cloud Apollo 10, Wadena-Deer Creek 0

Fergus Falls 3, Willmar 2

SEMIFINALS

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23

MAC ARENA, ST. CLOUD

Little Falls vs. Alexandria, 6 p.m.

St. Cloud Apollo vs. Fergus Falls, 7:30 p.m.

CHAMPIONSHIP

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28

MAC ARENA, ST. CLOUD

Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

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