Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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ST. PAUL - Blake's physicality and depth kept wearing on Red Wing Friday in the Class 1A girls state hockey tournament at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wingers weathered the punches and remained a goal down going into the third period. But by then, the Bears fresh legs helped them grab control of the game on the way to a 6-3 victory in the state semifinals. "If we played our first line, our first line was as good as or better than theirs," Red Wing head coach Scott Haley said. "You could tell they were just deeper.
LAKE CITY - Lake City's post players Taylor Koller and Madi Green get most of the spotlight while Breanna Gates hovers under the radar. On Thursday night, Gates took center stage for the Tigers in a 54-49 victory against Zumbrota-Mazeppa in the first round of the Section 1AA-West Sub-section. "Breanna doesn't get enough credit," Lake City head coach Candace Olstad said. "She's the only one on the team we ask to do everything.
ST. PAUL - It only took 15 seconds for Red Wing to announce its presence at the Class 1A girls state hockey tournament. Reagan Haley took a pass from Emily Stegora and buried in the back of the net on the top line's first shift, helping the Wingers advanced to the state semifinal with a 6-2 victory at the Xcel Energy Center. "It just takes a ton of pressure off of us," Red Wing head coach Scott Haley said of scoring in the first period. "We talked about getting out quick. A big bulk of that happens in the first five to eight minutes of that period.
The shots kept coming and coming and coming and ... you get the point. Red Wing let loose 86 shots Tuesday in the first round of the Section 1A tournament, but it took the seventh-seeded Wingers two overtimes to come away with a 3-2 victory over 10th-seeded Austin at Prairie Island Arena in Red Wing. Packers goaltender Rainer Londino-Green made 83 saves, including numerous sprawling game-saving stops in both overtimes. "That says it all," Red Wing head coach Mike Belisle said of Londino-Green's performance. "That's playoff hockey. It doesn't get any better than that.
Red Wing had a surplus of offensive talent coming into this season. The Wingers returned its top line and the top scoring defenseman in the state for three years running, so goal scoring wouldn't be an issue. But after graduating starting goaltender Lisa Nibbe, Red Wing had a void at a premium position. So when Ashley Corcoran's family decided to move from Farmington to Red Wing, the Wingers found their missing link. "It's been a real blessing for our program that she's here," Red Wing head coach Scott Haley said.
MINNEAPOLIS - Losing was the best thing to happen to Cannon Falls. The Bombers high kick dance team finished runner-up to Lake City at the Section 1A tournament last weekend but they would not be denied Saturday at the Class 1A state dance tournament High Kick Division. Cannon Falls took home the Class 1A title for the sixth time in the last 10 years, winning by three points and one rank point at the Target Center. "Something clicked inside my girls' heads and they realized that they couldn't take anything for granted by getting second," Bombers' head coach Madi Salisbury said.
MINNEAPOLIS - Zumbrota-Mazeppa went into the finals of the Class 1A state dance team tournament Jazz Division ranked fourth behind Yellow Medicine East, Aitkin and Marshall School-Duluth. The Cougars scored well enough to get a No.
OWATONNA - The last time third-ranked (1A) Red Wing saw No. 8 New Prague, the Trojans were celebrating in a dog pile after defeating the Wingers at Prairie Island Arena in Red Wing. Red Wing kept that image in the forefront leading up to the Section 1A title game Thursday at the Four Seasons Centre. "We've definitely been talking about it," Red Wing senior Paige Haley said. "We knew we had to put every ounce of effort into this one." Once the game began, the top-seeded Wingers quickly erased the memory, outplaying second-seeded New Prague in every facet Thursday in a 9-1 victory.
Red Wing's final eight possessions were its downfall Tuesday at home against Holy Angels. The Wingers were up 60-58 with 4 minutes, 32 minutes remaining in the game, but were unable to score in its final eight possessions while turning the ball over multiple times in a 68-60 loss to the third-ranked (3A) Stars. "We got to have more guys step up," Red Wing head coach Doug Toivonen said. "You got to get some stops. They're playing without one of their best players. I just thought we played OK tonight.
Red Wing's top line didn't want to come out of Saturday's Section 1A semifinal game against Waseca. The top-seeded Wingers were up big but Emily Stegora, Reagan Haley and Nicole Schammel knew they were close to doing something no Red Wing team had ever done: have three different players score three or more goals. Red Wing head coach Scott Haley said he was prepared to sit his top line in the third period but the players convinced him to let them go for it. And with little more than four minutes remaining in the third period, Stegora found the back of the net for her hat trick, meaning al