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Girls hockey team seeks section title tonight

All eyes will be on Alexandria tonight when the Bemidji girls hockey team makes its sixth try to gain a berth at the state tournament. Bemidji will battle Elk River at 7 at the Runestone Arena. Five times previously Bemidji has reached the title ...

All eyes will be on Alexandria tonight when the Bemidji girls hockey team makes its sixth try to gain a berth at the state tournament.

Bemidji will battle Elk River at 7 at the Runestone Arena.

Five times previously Bemidji has reached the title game. Its only title came in 2000 when it defeated Apollo 3-0 in the title game.

It lost the championship game in1999, 2002, 2003 and 2006 bowing to Moorhead 6-1 last year after sweeping the home and home series from the Spuds during the year.

Elk River beat Bemidji 3-0 in the 2003 title game, the only time that pair met in the final.

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Having played both Moorhead and Elk River this season, Coach Matt Menne expressed a preference to face the Elks, always wary of the old adage that beating the same team three times in one season is a risk.

Moorhead, however, dropped five of its last six regular season games and fell to Elk River 5-3 Tuesday after ousting Brainerd 4-1 in the quarterfinals.

The Elks beat Apollo 5-1 in their opener.

Elk River faced only four section rivals this winter, beating St. Cloud Tech and Brainerd and falling to Bemidji and Moorhead.

Bemidji won their November clash 6-2 at Buffalo and went on to a spotless 8-0 record against section foes.

It takes a 21-5-1 record into play tonight, its fifth 20-game winning season in its 11-year history.

Menne rates the Elks as vastly improved since the first meeting and feels his forces will need to bring their A game into play tonight to win.

"We will need a strong goal tending night from Savanna Osborn and better defense than we played in the 4-3 win over Tech in the semifinals," he said.

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Bemidji moved to a 4-1 lead in the late stages of the second period but had to hold off the Tigers in the last minutes to win by a single goal.

Elk River finished 13-11 this winter, taking fifth place in the Northwest Suburban Conference three games behind co-champions Centennial and Coon Rapids at 9-7.

In their only other game against a northern foe they bowed to Grand Rapids 4-2

Bemidji and the Rapids split this year, Bemidji winning the first meeting 3-1 and bowing on the Hawks ice 1-0.

No changes are planned for tonight. Osborn will be fronted by Carly Swenson and Courtney Reutzel as one defensive pair, Shauna Perrault and Annie Swartz as another and Emily Larson and Mia Kramka as a third.

Sarah Erickson will center Courtney Josefson and Jess Christofferson as the top line with Haley Johnson between Kaitlan Dickson and Karly Engen as a second and Alissa John son flanked by Shelby Sauer and Jessica Hunt as a third.

The fourth line would find Hailey Williamson skating with Kayla Colley and Kara Rich. Kaia Sele is the backup goalie.

The corrected scoring from the Tech win cost the Erickson line one point leaving it six short of the school record 140 held by Meghan Hopps, Erin Sullivan and Carrie Miller. Erickson shows 56 points, Josefson 41 and Christofferson 37.

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But the Haley Johnson line has 24 and the Alissa Johnson trio 37 though both of those units have been altered during the season. Hunt moved up from defense at mid year in a switch with Swenson.

Osborn shows 91.7 stops percentage rejecting 453 while allowing only 41goals. She has posted four shutouts, three in the past eight starts.

The state meet will open a three-day run Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center at St. Paul.

SECTION 8AA

CHAMPIONS

1997 Hibbing

1998 Hibbing

1999 Duluth

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2000 BemIdJi

2001 Moorhead

2002 Morhead

2003 Elk River

2004 Elk River

2005 Wright County

2006 Moorhead

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