ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — It was just a matter of time for Warroad.
Trailing South St. Paul by a goal despite dominating play from the opening faceoff, the top-ranked Warriors exploded for five scores in the third period on their way to a 5-1 win and a second straight Class 1A girl’s hockey state championship.
“I knew we’d come through, and the floodgate opened,” said Warriors goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie, who made 10 saves and allowed just one goal in Warroad’s three tournament games at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. “It was awesome. All the hard work paid off.”
For the second consecutive year, Warroad needed to rally in the third period to win the title for a community that now prides itself on both boy’s and girl’s high school hockey. The Warriors tied the score less than a minute into the third period on a power play goal by Layla Marvin that was allowed following a video review. The go-ahead score came five minutes later off the stick of Kayla Gardner, and Warroad was able to pile on the goals.
“We were nervous,” said Warriors coach David Marvin. “But we felt if we could get one goal we’d get a bunch. Everybody (in Warroad) expected it, and it wasn’t easy.”
Last year, Warroad scored all of its goals in the third period of the state title game in beating Breck 3-1.
Warroad held a 31-11 edge in shots but couldn’t find the net in the first two periods thanks to goaltending by South St. Paul’s Katie Felton and her teammates in front of the net.
“There was no reason to believe we couldn’t hold them off for 17 more minutes,” said Packers coach Dave Palmquist. “There’s 20 girls in the locker room with tears in their eyes, extremely disappointed.”
South St. Paul was in position for a fifth state title when Palmquist’s daughter Abby scored in the second period. With the Packers on the power play, Palmquist sent a backhander toward the net, the puck hitting off Amsley-Benzie, glancing off the goalpost, dropping into the crease and dribbling across the goal line.
Karly Sylvester assisted on the go-ahead goal by Gardner, who took the pass alone in front of the net, gathered in a rebound of her first shot and knocked the puck past Felton.
“I don’t know if you could compare the two championships,” Sylvester said. “It’s a big win for our town.”
Layla Marvin scored on an empty-netter late in the game to give her a tournament-best seven goals.
Lisa Marvin and Lynn Astrup also scored for the Warriors (27-3-0), who outscored their opponents 21-1 in the three games of the 17th annual girl’s hockey state tournament.
South St. Paul (24-6-0) last won the state championship in 2006 when they beat Warroad 3-2 in overtime of the final.
(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)