It's Irondale vs. Mounds View

It'll be an all-District 621 affair at Roseville Arena on Friday in the Section 5AA girls hockey championship game. Top-seeded Mounds View and sixth-seeded Irondale square off at 7:30 p.m. with a trip to the state tournament on the line.

If this scenario sounds familiar, that's because it is. Four years ago, the Knights and Mustangs also faced off in the section final. Irondale came out on top 2-1 to secure its first state-tournament berth.

Mounds View, the third-ranked team in the state in Class AA, is the clear favorite but little in this section has gone according to plan. In the quarterfinals last Saturday, three lower-seeded teams won.

The high seeds held serve on Tuesday in the semifinals but it took some doing. Mounds View beat fifth-seeded Champlin Park 4-2 thanks to a late power-play goal and an empty-net tally while Irondale needed overtime to dispatch seventh-seeded Centennial 6-5.

Mounds View never led by more than a goal until Kathryn Larson slid the puck into an empty Champlin Park net with one second left on the clock. Not long before that, Lauren Klein notched the game-winner, somehow knocking the puck in through a wild scramble in front of the Champlin Park net.

The Mustangs got off to a fast start as Sydney Brodt scored an unassisted goal less than three minutes into a wild first period. The two teams combined for 25 shots on the goal in the first stanza, which ended with the score 1-1.

Elli Marvin scored the only goal of the second period to put Mounds View back in front and from then on the game seemed to belong to the Mustangs. They outshot Champlin Park 13-3 in the second period.

As the third period progressed, Mounds View continued to pepper Champlin Park goaltender Hannah Goettl, launching 20 shots on goal. The Rebels turned away rush after rush and were finally rewarded with 4:20 showing on the clock on Kaleigh Martinson's goal.

Following the tying goal, Mounds View called a timeout and two minutes later was back in front.

Irondale's victory over Centennial was a bit more eventful. After eking out a 1-0 victory over Blaine in the quarterfinals, the Knights got involved in a shootout with Centennial. Irondale led 2-1 after one period and then each team scored twice in the first three minutes of the second period. With the score knotted at 4-4 going into the third, Irondale got what appeared to the break of the game when Greta Nundahl's shot from the faceoff circle was deflected by a Centennial stick and the puck fluttered over the Centennial goalie's shoulder and into the net. Irondale held the lead until the final minute of the third when Champlin Park, with its goalie pulled, tied it up with 11 seconds left to force overtime.

In the extra session, Sam Donovan drew a checking penalty with four seconds left. On the ensuing faceoff, Sena Hanson put a wrist shot on net and it found the back of the cage with one second left on the clock.

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