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Girls Hockey: Red Wing blows out Faribault, headed to section finals

Red Wing's Elle Bryant (middle), Maria Haley (20) and Nicole Oberding (21) celebrate in front of the Wingers' student section after Bryant's third-period goal in Saturday's 8-0 Section 1A semifinal victory over Faribault at Prairie Island Arena. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)1 / 3
Red Wing's Emily Hart (right) launches the puck at the net for a shot attempt during the second period of Saturday's Section 1A semifinal game against Faribault at Prairie Island Arena. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)2 / 3
With hats flying on the ice, Red Wing's Taylor Heise (right) and Emily Hart celebrate after Heise's sixth goal of the game in the third period of Saturday's 8-0 win in the Section 1A semifinals against Faribault at Prairie Island Arena. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)3 / 3

Even as the top seed in Section 1A, Red Wing still felt they had something to prove. They wanted to skate with purpose and they never wanted to take their foot off the gas. 

Simply put, the Wingers played mad in Saturday's section semifinal against Faribault. After taking a surprise loss to Owatonna in last year's section semis, Red Wing was not going to let history repeat itself.

"The first period, we out-shot them 22-4. We wanted to punch them in the nose," said Wingers junior forward Taylor Heise. "We wanted to come out that way the whole game."

Led by a six-goal outing from Red Wing advanced to the section final with an 8-0 victory, putting the Wingers in the section final for the eighth time in nine years. 

"Before the game, we talked about patterns. We thought back to the Owatonna game last year and the loss to Faribault back in 2010 when we were the team favored. We wanted to send a message early," said Red Wing head coach Scott Haley. 

Heise had a hat trick by the end of the first period, starting with a power-play goal at the 9-minute, 52-second mark with an assist from Emily Hart. Then at 10:43, Heise scored again with assists from Solveig Roth and Hart, followed by an unassisted score at 14:56.

"That first period, you couldn't have scripted it any better," Haley said. "If you told me to pick the best period of the night, our best was the first. It was the best first period we've played this year."

The second period was more of the same, with Heise notching an unassisted goal at 4:17, followed by another tally at 11:12 with a helper from Hart.

At 1:12 of the third, Elle Bryant added some firepower for the Wingers, scoring an even-strength goal with assists from Nicole Oberding and Sophie Schafer. Sixty-eight seconds later, Schafer put the puck in the net to make it 7-0 as Sophia DiNatale and Kendal Swanson were credited with assists on the play. 

"We rolled out three lines tonight and it was amazing to see the hard work and dedication from everyone," Heise said.

Then at 10:32, Heise put in her final score of the night on an unassisted goal.

"To put that in perspective, scoring six goals in a game in hockey is like someone scoring 75 points in basketball," Haley said. "What's been impressive is our team defense and our great goaltending. If we can do those two things, (Heise) can chip in a couple in any given night and we'll be in good shape.

"Early in the season, Taylor was having to create her opportunities. Tonight, a lot of those opportunities came from good passes and kids barreling to the net and tipping shots. The goals were happening because of the two or three plays before the goal."

Red Wing out-shot Faribault 50-15. With 15 saves, Wingers goaltender Tyler McGrath picked up her ninth shutout of the season.

At 5 p.m. Thursday at Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna, Red Wing will face second-seeded Northfield for the section crown after the Raiders beat Owatonna 3-0 on Saturday.

In two previous meetings this year, the Wingers are 2-0 against the Raiders, with a 3-2 win on Dec. 1 in Northfield, followed by a 4-3 victory at home on Dec. 12.