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Boys hockey: Alexandria gets a rematch with Minneapolis in opening round of Class A state tournament

The Cardinals (19-6-2) got the fifth seed and will face fourth-seeded Minneapolis (21-6-1) in the 8 p.m. game at the Xcel Energy Center on March 9.

Zaven Noetzelman
Alexandria's Zaven Noetzelman fires a shot in the Section 6A championship win over Fergus Falls on March 3, 2022. Noetzelman and the Cardinals (19-6-1) will open the Class A state tournament against the Minneapolis Novas (21-6-1) on March 9 at 8 p.m. at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

The Alexandria boys hockey team got the No. 5 seed in the Class A state tournament and will face a familiar opponent in Wednesday’s opening round.

The Cardinals (19-6-2) will play in the 8 p.m. game on Wednesday, March 9, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. They will face the Minneapolis Novas (21-6-1), a team that beat Alexandria in a 4-2 game at the Runestone Community Center on Dec. 11, 2021.

“The bracket ended up being exactly how I predicted it should have been, based off everyone’s rankings with the QRF and Minnesota Hockey Hub,” Alexandria head coach Josh Meyers said. “Good to see everyone was honest with where they felt their team should be.”

The winner of their quarterfinal game will play at 1 p.m. on March 11 back at the Xcel Energy Center. The losers of the quarterfinal games will drop to the consolation bracket played at Mariucci Arena on March 10.

“It’s ironic how it all worked out to face a team that we already played, especially when it was someone we don’t regularly play each year,” Meyers said of facing Minneapolis a second time. “I believe this was the first time Alex has ever played them. The game was played so early into the season. I’ve watched the game and took some notes on little things they do, but we will reference later games they have played to get a better understanding of their team.”

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The last time Alexandria and Minneapolis played, the Novas jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the Cardinals cut the distance in half with two third-period goals. Shots were about even in that game, with Alexandria leading 29-26.

“That game at home wasn’t particularly good for us," Meyers said. "We came out flat and basically handed them a 4-0 lead. We finally started playing to our ability in the third period and were able to make it a 4-2 game. We know we can play with them, but also know we have to bring our 'A' game.”

The Class A state championship game is set for March 12 at 12 p.m. at the Xcel Energy Center.

Hermantown (26-2) is the No. 1 seed in the field and will face unseeded New Prague (11-15-2) in the opening round. Second-seeded Warroad (24-3-1) faces Monticello (13-14-1), while third-seeded Mahtomedi (16-11-1) takes on Mankato East-Loyola (17-10-1) in the quarterfinals.

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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