Tigers start ‘2nd season’ at home

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 6, 2001

The regular season did not end on a positive note for the Albert Lea High School girls’ hockey team.

Tuesday, February 06, 2001

The regular season did not end on a positive note for the Albert Lea High School girls’ hockey team.

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But that’s history.

The Tigers have new life – as does every other team in the state – as the section tournament begins this week.

While coach Mike Miller was disappointed with the Tigers’ regular-season finale – a 3-2 loss at Waseca – he’s nevertheless optimistic about the playoffs.

&uot;It’s a new season right now, the second season, you could say,&uot; said Miller. &uot;I’m excited.&uot;

One reason is, for the first time in their four-year history, the Tigers will host an opening-round tournament game, facing Faribault at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at the City Arena.

Albert Lea is seeded seventh and Faribault 10th out of 13 teams in the single-elimination tournament. The winner will play Friday at second-seeded Farmington. The semifinals are Tuesday, Feb. 13 and the championship game Saturday, Feb. 17, both at Owatonna.

Owatonna is the No. 1 seed, followed by Farmington, Lakeville, Rochester Mayo, Austin, Red Wing, Albert Lea, Rochester John Marshall, Waseca, Faribault, Winona, Northfield and Dodge County.

The Tigers have played Faribault twice this season, winning 4-1 and 8-0, though Miller warns the 8-0 score is not representative of the Falcons’ goaltending.

&uot;Their goaltender faced more than 700 shots this year and gave up around 65 goals,&uot; said Miller. &uot;That’s about a 91, 92 save percentage. That’s pretty good.&uot;

The Tigers’ save percentage, according to Miller, is around 85 percent, which he said is about average for high school girls’ teams.

Goaltending, Miller said, is generally more important in the playoffs than in the regular season.

&uot;Goaltending is the backbone of a team in the playoffs,&uot; said the coach. &uot;Goaltending got Austin into the state tournament last year. If you’ve got a hot goalie, you can go a long way in the playoffs.&uot;

One thing Miller would like to see Wednesday is a nice fan turnout at the City Arena.

&uot;We need to get people out there,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s the first home playoff game we’ve ever had, and we’ve had an exciting team this year. We’ve been able to blow out some teams and play tough with the conference leaders. It’s a shame more people haven’t come out to watch.&uot;