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Red Wing girls' hockey is headed back to state

The Red Wing girls' hockey team shows off their section championship trophy. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Senior Taylor Heise scored two goals to help the Wingers to a 4-1 victory over Rochester Lourdes at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
As soon as the buzzer sounded, the Wingers began celebrating their first state appearance since 2015 after beating Rochester Lourdes in the section finals. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

The Red Wing Wingers girls' hockey team is returning to the state tournament after a two-year hiatus and will look to make their mark in what senior captain Taylor Heise called a "wide open class A". The Wingers beat Rochester Lourdes 4-1 in the section 1A finals held at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. Heise scored two goals and Red Wing's defense stifled Lourdes for almost the entire game, holding them to just 15 shots on goal (only eight through two periods). Red Wing is ranked third in class A on the MN Girls' Hockey Hub website and can reasonably expect a good seeding when the state tournament starts next week.

The game

Red Wing jumped on Lourdes in the first period and kept up the pressure for the entire first two periods in order to build a 4-0 lead. Heise scored on the first power play of the game (assisted by senior Nicole Oberding) with a slap shot from long range and the Wingers led 1-0 just over eight minutes into the first. Five minutes later junior Emily Hart scored unassisted and the first period ended with Red Wing leading 2-0.

Heise struck again late in the second period when she intercepted an errant pass and took it straight at the goalie, scoring despite being tripped up from behind. This gave the Wingers a 3-0 lead with five minutes left to play in the second. Three minutes later senior Solveig Roth tapped in a rebounded shot to give her team a 4-0 lead going into the final period.

Four goals proved to be plenty for Red Wing as their defense dominated Lourdes for almost a full three periods. While Lourdes was able to score in the final minutes, it was performance the Wingers could hang their hat on.

The state tournament runs Feb. 21-24 at the Xcel Energy Center and Ridder Arena on the University of Minnesota Campus. The top five teams in class A will be seeded and the other three assigned by random draw. Check back this weekend for an updated story.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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