Tiger girls set to face No. 1 seed Northfield

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fresh off a rousing 4-0 victory against Austin in the first round of the Section 1A playoffs, the Albert Lea girls’ hockey team now has a bigger challenge in front of them — No. 11 in the state Northfield.

The two teams will meet Wednesday at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna to determine who will move on to the section finals.

Albert Lea enters as a No. 4 seed to face the No. 1 seed and will assume the position as the underdog, but its a position the Tigers have faced all season.

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Albert Lea (12-14-0) is riding high though, having won its last three games and has a hot goaltender.

Senior goaltender Kelli Hanson recorded her first shutout of the season Friday against Austin, making 47 saves and in the playoffs there’s nothing better than having a hot goaltender.

The offense has caught fire as well, notching 18 goals in the past three games.

Madi Passingham and Lauren Klick have been providing much of the firepower recently and throughout the season. Klick leads the team with 22 goals while Passingham has 18.

The timing of everything couldn’t be better for Albert Lea head coach Brian Blatti.

“The timing is essential for a team to be successful,” he said. “I have no doubt that this team can make a state run.”

While upperclassmen Klick and Passingham lead the team in scoring, the underclassmen have made contributions throughout the year. Among them Mariah Leach, a freshman, Sophia Jepson, a sophomore, and Tasha Moyer, a freshman. They rank fourth, fifth, and sixth on the team in scoring.

The Tigers will face the Raiders for the third time this season. Albert Lea dropped the first meeting 6-3 on the opening night of the season, but at the end of December the Tigers only lost 2-1.

Albert Lea will need to find a way to stop Maren Dvorak. She has scored four of the eight goals the Raiders have scored against the Tigers this season.

“We hope to have five more games left in the season,” Passingham said