Proctor/Hermantown goaltender Abby Pajari (32) makes a save in the second period under pressure from Warroad's Abbey Reule (12) and Reanna Smith (4). Photo by Cheryl A. Myers, SportsEngine
Proctor/Hermantown senior Alyssa Watkins has heard all year how good 12-time state participant Warroad can play. But she and her teammates showed why they’re a team from northern Minnesota that deserves some love, too.
The third-seeded Mirage upset No. 2 seed Warroad 3-1 on Thursday in a Class 1A semifinal at Xcel Energy Center, thanks to a two-goal second period that included Watkins’ sixth goal in two tournament games.
“To see us come down and show that we’re just as good, if not even better than they are, it means a lot,” Watkins said. “Especially being the first team in program history to even make it to the state championship is definitely something to be proud of.”
A tying goal with sixth-tenths of a second left in the first period and then a two-goal second period helped Proctor/Hermantown reach its first state championship game with a 3-1 upset victory over Warroad.
Freshman Hannah Graves scored the first two goals before senior Alyssa Watkins added her sixth goal of the tournament to keep the No. 3 seed Mirage undefeated (20-0) in the first Class 1A semifinal game Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.
Coming into the game the matchup appeared pretty even, with second-seeded Warroad scoring 6.33 goals per game while allowing only 0.90 goals per game. The Mirage scored 7.63 goals per game allowing only 0.74 goals. Special teams proved to be a difference in the game, too, with the Mirage going 1-for-4 on the power play while Warroad went 0-for-4.
Mirage junior goaltender Abby Pajari made 31 saves to improve to 11-0-0.
The Mirage reach its first title game in six trips to the state tournament. The program lost to Warroad in the 2019 semifinal.
Senior Abbey Hardwick gave Warroad (20-2) a 1-0 lead in the first period. The Warriors fell just short of the title game for the second consecutive season. Warroad also finished as the Class 1A runner-up in 2018 and 2019.
Check back later for more on the game.