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Chart: Five things to know about the girls' hockey tournament

By Star Tribune, 02/18/14, 8:41PM CST


The girls’ hockey state tournament starts Wednesday.

The girls’ hockey state tournament starts Wednesday and launches a 32-day frenzy of high school sports activity. The first puck drops at 11 a.m. at Xcel Energy Center when Alexandria battles Blake in a Class 1A quarterfinal. Here are five things to know:


1 Unusual entry

What is the only team to reach a state tournament without winning its section? St. Paul United, a co-op of Visitation and St. Paul Academy, advanced to its first Class 1A tournament ever when Achiever Academy withdrew amid player eligibility problems just hours before the section championship game.


2 Fresh faces

Only five of last year’s 16 qualifiers are returning to St. Paul. Four teams are making inaugural appearances: East Grand Forks, Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato and St. Paul United in Class 1A, plus Andover in Class 2A.


3 Star power

Kelly Pannek of Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Nicole Schammel of Red Wing are two of five Ms. Hockey finalists. Alexis Joyce of Lakeville North, Pannek’s linemate Caitlin Reilly and Mounds View’s Bella Sutton are among 10 semifinalists. The award will be presented Sunday.


4 Great goalies

Senior goalie of the year finalists Madi Galstad of East Grand Forks and Abbey Miller of Benilde-St. Margaret’s enjoyed sterling statistical seasons. Galstad’s 1.19 goals-against average and .941 saves percentage are program bests. Miller reset the state mark with her 29th career shutout. And don’t overlook Lakeville North’s Abby ­Cooper, who set a school record with 13 shutouts and leads the state with a .083 goals-against average.


5 Olympic bond

Rob McClanahan, who scored the game-winning goal in the 1980 gold medal game against Finland, has a daughter playing in the tournament for Blake. Eighth-grade forward Sara McClanahan has nine goals and nine assists for the defending Class 1A state champs.

David La Vaque

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