Youth hockey: AAHA teams advance to state, regions
The Alexandria Area Hockey Association is closing in on the end of a successful season as two area youth teams will compete at their state tournaments this weekend.
The Elden's Fresh Foods U15A girls team will compete at state in Blaine March 14-16. They enter with a 25-7-7 record after winning the regional tournament in Grand Rapids recently. After a bye in the opening round, the U15A team beat Grand Rapids 6-1. That was a prelude to a dominant 9-2 win over Moorhead in the championship, where Payton Boesl led the way with a hat trick in the win.
The American National Bank Bantam A boys team also qualified for its state tournament by winning six of seven playoff games.
They were 12-2 entering the district tournament to earn the top seed. Wins over Moorhead and Detroit Lakes then sent them to regions in Monticello, where they were also the top seed.
Alexandria got a 4-2 win over Thief River Falls in its regional opener before falling in a 3-2 game to East Grand Forks. That forced Alexandria into a tough situation, but the team responded with a 3-1 win over LDC and a 5-2 win over Thief River Falls. Then in the fifth matchup of the season against East Grand Forks, Alexandria won a 4-2 game to advance to the state tournament March 15-17 in Moorhead, where they will face top-seeded Rogers in the opener.
The Heartland Orthopedic Bantam B1 boys team made it out of its district tournament to advance to regions this season.
Alexandria went into the district tournament as the third seed and beat Prairie Center 7-4 in its opener. That sent them into a semifinals matchup against second-seeded Moorhead, where they won 3-1. Alexandria lost to top-seeded Morris-Benson in the championship, but advanced to regions after a win over Park Rapids.
A loss to St. Cloud Red in the region tournament opener meant Alexandria would need to win out to make state. They almost did that, beating River Lakes, St. Michael-Albertville and Bemidji before another loss to St. Cloud Red ended their run. The two teams were tied in the second period of that game, but St. Cloud won it in the third. Alexandria earned a third-place trophy at regions to place among the top 12 in state out of 90 teams.
The Hilltop Lumber PeeWee A boys team had season highlights that included wins over six teams that were ranked among the top-10 in state.
Many of those wins came during the course of a 12-game winning streak this season. The Alexandria team played in three tournament championships early this winter, which included a win over third-ranked Rogers by a 4-2 score at the Big Ole championship.
The PeeWee A boys team ended its season with a loss to fifth-ranked Warroad that would have sent the team to state. They placed third at regions and top 12 out of 79 teams in state.