East Grand Forks Haley Mack (center) celebrated with teammates after scoring the first of her two goals in first period action (Marlin Levison, Star Tribune)
Whether shooting from the forehand or backhand, Haley Mack held the upper hand.
Mack, a sophomore forward, scored four goals as No. 1 seed East Grand Forks dispatched fellow girls’ hockey state tournament newcomer Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato 8-1 in Wednesday’s Class 1A quarterfinal.
Four goals and one assist added to Mack’s school-record total for points in a season, which now stands at 79.
“Anytime she gets around the net, she has that ability to finish,” Green Wave coach Jim Scanlan said. “Natural goal-scorers just seem to be able to do those things.”
Mack scored twice as East Grand Forks (25-2-1) led 2-0 at the first intermission at Xcel Energy Center, helping the team overcome nerves and tentative play.
“We knew it would be a big challenge, so we were hoping we’d get the first goal and continue on,” Mack said.
Continue the Green Wave did. Tiffany Hanson scored only 1:18 into the second period for a 3-0 lead.
Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato (10-18) struck back as Kennedy Sommerfeld tapped a rebound home and cut the lead to 3-1.
But East Grand Forks countered with goals from Alexa Mack and Riley Koberinski only 41 seconds apart. Haley Mack pushed the lead to 6-1 as she completed the hat trick in the second period.
“She’s stepped up,” Scanlan said. “It’s a bigger stage and I think she kind of relishes those challenges.”