Despite Late Losses, Tigers Grab Top Seed
by Pat Rupp
Some bad news was quickly followed by some very good news for Farmington last week as it wrapped up its regular season and started preparing for the Section 1AA playoffs.
First the bad news...the Tigers closed out their regular season with a pair of frustrating South Suburban Conference losses, a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Shakopee on Thursday and a 4-3 setback Saturday afternoon at Eastview.
The losses left the Tigers with a final league and regular season record of 9-8-1 and left some doubt as to how the section seedlings would fall into place.
“The voting ended in a tie between us and Lakeville South for first place,” Farmington coach Jon Holmes said. “We got the top seed based on how we did against South head-to-head during the regular season.”
The Tigers and the second-seeded Cougars tied 2-2 in their first meeting with Farmington eking out a 1-0 win in the rematch.
Both teams received a first round bye in the section tournament. Farmington will play the winner of the Owatonna/Dodge County opening round game on Wednesday while South will battle the Northfield/Rochester Century winner. Rochester Mayo and Rochester John Marshall are not in the tournament this year due to COVID-19 issues.
The winners of those two games will square off for the Section 1 berth in Class A state tournament on Friday at the higher seed. Farmington is the defending section champion.
“The losses at the end of the season were tough,” Holmes said, “but as far as how we played, I was actually very pleased. We looked very good.
“All of our zone and systems play were solid. The big problem was allowing rebound goals and that is something we can address before our next game.”
Shakopee 3 Farmington 1
The Tigers inability to put the puck in the net was the story in Thursday night’s loss. Farmington finished with a 32-20 shots on goal margin but just one of those found its mark.
“We just couldn’t find the twine,” Holmes said. “We had several two-on-one situations and a couple of breakaways but couldn’t finish.”
After a scoreless first period the Sabers scored just 44 seconds into the second. The Tigers answered with a Sam Moehle (from Brenna Fuhrman and Carly Lancaster) goal midway through the second to send the teams to final break tied at 1-1. Farmington outshot Shakopee 17-8 in the second stanza.
The shots evened out in the final period (7-6 Shakopee) with the difference being the Sabers, ability to finish off two of its scoring opportunities.
Eastview 4 Farmington 3
Saturday’s one-goal loss in the regular season finale followed a similar pattern as the Shakopee game with Farmington finishing with a 42-20 shots on goal advantage but coming up short on the scoreboard.
The Lightning scored the first goal of the game and the Tigers could never rally to take the lead. Their biggest deficits came at 3-1 and 4-2.
Moehle and season-scoring leader Sadie Long led the Farmington offense. Moehle scored twice and had an assist while Long had a goal and an assist for a two-point night. Lancaster, Fuhrman and Jayden Seifert each added an assist in the losing effort.
Holmes said that perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the loss was the lack of his team’s ability to utilize its potent power play unit. Eastview was whistled for only one penalty the entire game.
“We are a physically strong and fit team,” he said, “and we skate through hooks, grabs and body checks. But when we make contact we get the penalties...There is no way we control the puck and outshoot a team by two-to-one and we get all the penalties.”