The Alexandria girls hockey team just wrapped up its first regular season at the Class AA level, and the Cardinals wasted no time in positioning themselves to make a potential playoff run.
Alexandria got the third seed in the Section 8AA field when the bracket was announced on Wednesday. The Cardinals (16-6-3) will face the St. Cloud Icebreakers (15-10) on Saturday afternoon at 3 at the Runestone Community Center.
“I think we got the seed that our girls deserve,” Alexandria head coach Molly Arola said. “I am happy for our girls to be placed where they are at. All season has had its own challenges and victories, but we know that it's all part of the process to hopefully help us through the playoff journey. We are in a very talented section, and we love the challenge that is right in front of us.”
The Cardinals played St. Cloud in the last game of the regular season on Jan. 30 and beat the Icebreakers 5-2 after trailing 2-0 early in that game. These two teams split the season series after St. Cloud won a 3-2 overtime game on its home ice on Dec. 17.
With 15 wins, the Icebreakers could have been seeded in either the fourth or fifth slot. Instead, Sartell-Sauk Rapids (14-10-1) earned that fourth seed, and Buffalo (10-13-2) is seeded fifth.
“At the end of the day, we have to beat any team we face,” Arola said. “We have split with St. Cloud in the regular season, so we know it is going to be a battle. Playoff hockey just has a different feeling to it, and anyone can win on any given night.”
Roseau (18-5-2) is the No. 1 seed in the 8AA field and will host eighth-seeded Bemidji (10-15) on Saturday. Brainerd-Little Falls (15-9-1) got the second seed and will host seventh-seeded Moorhead (8-16-1) that same day.
The section semifinal games will be played at the high seed on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. The finals are set for Feb. 14 at a neutral site yet-to-be determined.
After a 16-win regular season, the Cardinals are excited to see how they stack up against the rest of a talented field.
“The biggest thing (we need to do) is just bringing it every shift and every period,” Arola said. “We have a lot to give yet, and there is no reason not to give it our all at this point.”