Warroad celebrates its Class 1A championship. /Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune
Before Saturday, Warroad's girls’ hockey team had not entered the third period behind on the scoreboard in 2011.
The Warriors last experienced such a scenario Dec. 31 in an eventual loss to Roseville — a game standout forwards Layla Marvin and Karley Sylvester missed while playing for the U.S. Under-18 team in Sweden.
The No. 1 seed and top-ranked Warriors, back at full strength, found defense of the Class 1A state championship impeded by South St. Paul on Saturday. The No. 3 seed Packers led 1-0 going into Saturday’s third period at the Xcel Energy Center but their slim lead failed to send Warroad into a panic.
“Everyone was nervous but ready to play,” Warriors goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie said. “I knew we’d come through and score.”
Warroad, which won its first two state tournament games by a combined score of 16-0, fought back for a 5-1 victory and a second consecutive 1A championship.
Through two periods, South St. Paul seemed to have just enough magic. Freshman Abby Palmquist backhanded a shot past Amsley-Benzie at 5:01 of the second period. Meanwhile, Packers goaltender Katie Felton stopped all 18 shots she faced through two periods, including a breakaway by Marvin.
“We were 17 minutes from a title no one thought we would win,” South St. Paul coach Dave Palmquist said.
The key, Palmquist said, would be killing off what remained of a Warroad penalty to start the third period. It didn’t happen.
Marvin blasted a loose puck over Felton for her team’s first goal just 57 seconds into the period. Kayla Gardner and Lisa Marvin later scored goals less than two minutes apart to take control.
“We were nervous,” Warriors coach David Marvin said. “But I knew if we could get one goal, we’d get a bunch. We’d get enough.”
Breck: Prentice Basten, Milica McMillen
Eveleth-Gilbert: Amanda Arbogast
Hutchinson: Sara Carlson
Red Wing: Paige Hailey
South St. Paul: Katie Felton, Sam LaShomb, Abbie Wisneski
Warroad: Shelby Amsley-Benzie, Kayla Gardner, Layla Marvin, Karley Sylvester