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Card boys' hockey: A return engagement in Section 6A hockey

Alexandria boys' hockey fans will get the rematch that they were hoping for heading into the Section 6A Tournament. The Cardinals made sure of that with a 5-1 win over Sartell-St. Stephen on Saturday. That will give them another shot at knocking ...

Alexandria boys' hockey fans will get the rematch that they were hoping for heading into the Section 6A Tournament.

The Cardinals made sure of that with a 5-1 win over Sartell-St. Stephen on Saturday. That will give them another shot at knocking off undefeated Little Falls when the two teams meet in the section championship tomorrow night, Thursday, at the Municipal Athletic Complex in St. Cloud.

Alexandria wasted no time setting the tone against the Sabres on Saturday. The Cardinals jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first period. Casey Vangsness and Bennett Black got them started, and Tyler Resch scored with 14 seconds left in the period to take a commanding lead.

"Jumping out to an early lead is exactly what we were looking for," head coach Scott Woods said. "We know teams will know they have an uphill battle against us if we get a lead. We are a good defensive team and have excellent goaltending."

That lead was pushed to 5-0 in the second period off of goals from Thomas Williams and Ross Thompson. Things got physical from there. They reached their boiling point when Matt Hemingway was knocked into the net, eliciting a five-minute penalty on the Sabres and an ejection.

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"When things got heated, we had a meeting while the refs were sorting out some penalties," Woods said. "I told them they had the section final to think about. The refs were ready to give game misconducts, and we couldn't afford to lose anyone. I also told them that if anyone said or did anything out of line, they were done for the night. I didn't want them to make a bad choice when they were heated. Our guys handled it well."

The Sabres added a goal before the final buzzer rang, but it was too little, too late as the Cardinals skated into the section finals.

Waiting for them will be Central Lakes Conference rival Little Falls, who took care of Fergus Falls 5-2 on Saturday.

These two teams know plenty about each other. The Flyers won two one-goal games against Alexandria during the regular season.

The Cardinals have played Little Falls as good as anyone this season and had chances to come away with a win in both match ups. Those close contests have Alexandria feeling they have the talent to hand the Flyers their first loss of the season.

"I think the attitude is good," Woods said of his team. "We have shown we are right there with them. We know we can beat them, and we know it is hard to beat a tough opponent three times in the same season."

Little Falls has advanced to the state tournament four years straight. The Cardinals hope to end that tomorrow night when the puck drops at 7 p.m.

"We need to play at the top of our game," Woods said. "Any mistake for either team will be critical. Being mentally sharp, staying out of the box and limiting [Ben] Hanowski's chances will be key."

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GAME STATISTICS

ALEXANDRIA 3 2 0 - 5

SARTELL-ST. STEPHEN 0 0 1 - 1

ALEXANDRIA LEADERS - Casey Vangness - 1 goal; Bennett Black - 1 goal; Aaron Rentschler - 1 assist; Ashton Gronholz - 2 assists; Tyler Resch - 1 goal, 1 assist; Thomas Williams - 1 goal, 1 assist; Kirby Nelson - 1 assist; Ross Thompson - 1 goal

GOALTENDING - Matt Hemingway - 10 saves, 1 goal allowed

SECTION 6A HOCKEY

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

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 7 P.M.

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Detroit Lakes vs. Prairie Center at Long Prairie

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 7 P.M.

Little Falls 11, Prairie Centre 0

Fergus Falls 8, St. Cloud Apollo 1

Alexandria 9, Wadena-Deer Creek 2

Sartell-St. Stephen 6, Morris/Benson Area 2

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28

MAC IN ST. CLOUD

Little Falls 5, Fergus Falls 2

Alexandria 5, Sartell-St. Stephen 1

THURSDAY, MARCH 5

MAC IN ST. CLOUD

Little Falls vs. Alexandria, 7 p.m.

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