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1A championship preview: Proctor/Hermantown vs. Gentry Academy

By HEATHER RULE, Special to the Star Tribune, 04/02/21, 8:00PM CDT

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Each team has a potent goal-scorer who could be the difference-maker.

Class 1A championship

Third seed Proctor/Hermantown (20-0) vs. Top seed
Gentry Academy (19-2), 11 a.m., Xcel Energy Center

Why Proctor/Hermantown will win:  Senior Alyssa Watkins’ scoring abilities. She scored five goals in the quarterfinals and added an insurance goal in the semifinals with a shot in the top left corner of the net. The Mirage have a deep roster, though, averaging 7.4 goals per game.

Why Gentry Academy will win: Sophomore Cara Sajevic, who has 17 goals and 28 points in her past 10 games, including four goals in the tournament. Playing shorthanded hasn’t been a problem; the Stars are 14-for-14 killing penalties. The Stars also haven’t lost in regulation this season.

Key to the game: Proctor/Hermantown allows only 0.75 goals per game backstopped by junior goalie Abby Pajari (11-0-0), who made 31 saves against a high-powered Warroad offense at state. Five different Stars scored in their semifinal win, and seven Mirage players have double-digit goal totals.

One thing to know: Both teams are making their first appearance in a title game. In the past nine state tournaments, Thief River Falls in 2015 was the only team other than Breck or Blake to win a 1A title.

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