ALHS hockey girls to face West tonight at arena

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 12, 2003

The last thing Albert Lea High School girls’ hockey coach Mike Miller wanted was another day of rest in preparation for the Section 1A semifinals.

But that’s what the Tigers got.

Tuesday’s game against Mankato West was wiped out by the weather, rescheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. at the Albert Lea City Arena. The winner plays Thursday for the section championship and state tournament berth.

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Since the Tigers are heavily favored against West, the tempting thing to do is talk about a potential title-game matchup with top-seeded Farmington. But Miller wasn’t biting.

&uot;Thinking ahead gets you in trouble,&uot; said the coach. &uot;When you disrespect your opponents and you’re looking ahead to who you’re going to play next, you usually wind up in the stands watching those two teams play.&uot;

The Tigers played West twice this season, winning 4-1 at Mankato and 5-1 at the City Arena.

The first game, played in November, was very close. Albert Lea led 2-1 late, scoring an empty-net goal and adding another in the final seconds. A few weeks ago, the Tigers took a 3-0 first-period lead and coasted.

&uot;We actually have a size advantage on West, one of few times we can say that,&uot; said Miller. &uot;We just need to play up to our ability. If we do that for three periods, it will be a favorable outcome.&uot;

The Tigers are led in scoring by Laura Hillman, who has 50 goals and 27 assists for the season. Tessa Christensen has 22 goals and 26 assists, Brittany Arendt 15 goals and 21 assists, Amy Leach seven goals and 17 assists. Danika Porter has been in goal for every win.

The Tigers, 20-7, have won seven games in a row and 11 of their last 12. Mankato West is 10-14. The Scarlets lost three straight to finish the regular season before defeating Red Wing 4-2 and Faribault 4-0 in the section tournament. West’s top scorers are Brittany Sorell with 16 goals and Allie Palmer with 13. Kayley Lyons tops the team with 22 assists, followed by Amanda Umhoefer with 16. Jenny Gorny has all 10 of the Scarlets’ victories.

Fourth-seeded Austin plays at Farmington in tonight’s other semifinal. The semifinal winners meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.