Mustangs squeak into section semifinals

Plenty of players can come up with the big play during the regular season but the post-season is often when the superstars separate themselves from the pack. Mounds View High School senior Sydney Brodt proved her playoff mettle in the Section 4AA girls hockey quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at the St. Croix Valley Rec Center.

With her team trailing and finding it impossible to beat North/Tartan goaltender Marit Larson, Brodt found a way. She scored twice in the third period to help Mounds View rally for a 2-1 victory and secure a spot in the semifinals.

With sixth-seeded North/Tartan leading 1-0, Brodt took a pass at the blue line from younger sister Annika and broke in all alone on Larson. When Larson went down, Brodt fired the puck up and over Larson’s glove.

“I know she’s a big goalie so I’m going to have to either make a good deke or get the puck up over her,” said Brodt. “I just waited for her to drop and shot it over her shoulder.”

Mounds View head coach Aaron Moberg said that's what players of Brodt’s ilk do.

“It was huge when Sydney got that breakaway and buried it like a Ms. Hockey candidate does,” Moberg said. “You could sense the relief on the bench when she finished that one.”

Mounds View, the No. 3 seed, continued its pressure following Brodt’s goal but as the third period wore on it appeared that overtime was in the teams’ future. That was until Brodt fired from the left faceoff circle. The shot looked like it would end up in the far corner until it hit a North/Tartan skate and slid just inside the right post with 38 seconds left.

Until the third period, Larson was the story of the game. She stopped all 17 shots she saw in the first period and made 23 more saves in the second. Had it not been for Brodt, she easily could have stolen the game for North/Tartan.

“We knew she was one of the best goalies in the state,” said Moberg.

Larson ended up with 14 saves in the third period to finish the game with 54. 

Mounds View netminder Teagen Johnson, a freshman, wasn t tested nearly as often but stopped 15 shots to earn her first varsity playoff victory. The only goal she surrendered came five minutes into the game when North/Tartan s Jordan Jackson slid one through the five hole.

With the victory, Mounds View avoided a one-and-done post-season, something the Mustangs haven t experienced since 2011 when it lost 3-2 to Anoka in the first round of the Section 5AA playoffs.

Next up for Mounds View is a familiar opponent. The Mustangs take on second-seeded White Bear Lake on Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Aldrich Arena. White Bear Lake beat Irondale/St. Anthony 4-2 in the quarterfinals.

The Suburban East Conference rivals play each other twice a year in the regular season but haven t met in the post-season in 13 years. 

Mounds View won the first meeting between the two teams this season 2-0 in Dec. 5 and White Bear Lake returned the favor with a 4-3, overtime victory on Jan. 16. In both cases, the winning team finished with fewer shots on goal.

“I would like to get White Bear again because they just beat us in overtime,” said Brodt.

The other semifinal, which starts at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Aldrich, pits top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Hill-Murray, the two-time defending state champion, against fifth-seeded Stillwater. 

Hill-Murray rolled to a 9-1 victory over eighth-seeded Woodbury on Friday at Roseville Arena while Stillwater upended fourth-seeded Roseville 4-1.

The two semifinal winners meet with the section title on the line on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Roseville Arena.

Irondale/St. Anthony

The Knights faced an uphill battle in their Section 4AA quarterfinal against White Bear Lake on Saturday at the St. Croix Valley Rec Center in Stillwater. The surging Bears had lost just once since Jan. 1 while Irondale had won just twice in that same stretch.

The game stayed closer than some would have expected but in the end White Bear Lake proved to be too strong for the Knights. The Bears pulled out a 4-2 victory to end Irondale s season and advance to the section semifinals.

White Bear Lake never trailed as it opened the scoring five minutes into the game. 

Irondale answered five minutes later as some sustained pressure led to the tying goal. The Knights had White Bear Lake bottled up in its own end and eventually junior Megan Lyke found senior captain Maddie Hentges alone in front of the Bears’ cage. Hentges calmly tapped the puck past White Bear goalie Calla Frank.

The momentum didn’t last, however, because White Bear Lake went back in front just 10 seconds later. The go-ahead goal put the Bears in front to stay.

White Bear Lake made it a two-goal game less than three minutes into the second period when Sydney Shearen’s slow backhand somehow eluded Irondale netminder Kalley Elwell. The Bears then put the game away with a goal 6:38 into the third period.

Irondale made a two-goal game again on Hentges  second goal of the game but it came with only 50 seconds left. Lyke also assisted on that goal.

The Knights finished the game with 14 shots on goal while Elwell finished with 26 saves in her final high school game.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.


Section 4AA girls hockey playoffs

Quarterfinals
Game 1  Hill-Murray 9, Woodbury 1
Game 2  Stillwater 4, Roseville 1
Game 3  Mounds View 2, North/Tartan 2
Game 4  White Bear Lake 4, Irondale/St. Anthony 2

Semifinals, Feb. 9 at Aldrich Arena
Game 5  Hill-Murray vs. Stillwater, 6 p.m.
Game 6  White Bear Lake vs. Mounds View, 8 p.m.

Championship game, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m. at Roseville Arena
Game 7  Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner

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