MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – February is a great time of year to be a high school sports fan in Minnesota. Every week, there’s a big match-up somewhere putting talented teams against each other with a lot on the line.
Conference seasons are winding down in boys hockey and girls basketball, and the best teams in all sports are taking now as the time to separate themselves from everyone else. Next week also marks the start of state tournament time, as the top girls’ hockey teams in Minnesota will hit Xcel Energy Center and Ridder Arena to play for a state championship.
But to have the chance to play for a state title, you’ve got to win your section title. There are a slew of Friday night girls hockey games this week where the winner goes to the state tournament, and the loser is done. Here are some of the top section title games Friday night, and a great match-up in metro boys basketball.
Friday Girls Hockey: Eden Prairie (19-7) vs. Edina (17-7-3)
Section 2AA title game (Ridder Arena)
It’s always a little more special when you can beat your rival for a state tournament bid, and it will definitely be intense Friday night as Eden Prairie faces Edina in the Section 2AA title game at Ridder Arena. It’s a match-up of No. 3 against No. 7 in Class AA. The two teams met twice during the regular season, with Eden Prairie winning both times.
The Eagles enter the contest having won seven of their last eight games. They’re led by Charly Dahlquist’s 35 points in the regular season. Angie Heppelman led the team with 16 goals and Lauren Boyle added 13.
The Hornets are led by Taylor Williamson’s 42 points and 26 goals. They also have a solid goaltender in Boomer Sonnek, who is 12-3-2 in net on the season. Edina enters the game having won its last two by a combined 16-0.
Action gets underway at about 8 p.m. Friday at the University of Minnesota’s Ridder Arena.
Friday Girls Hockey: Hill-Murray (22-3-1) vs. Stillwater (18-8-1)
Section 4AA title game (Aldrich Arena)
Hill-Murray is itching to get back to the state tournament after getting to last year’s title game against Minnetonka and losing. The Pioneers can achieve that if they beat Stillwater in the Section 4AA title game at Aldrich Arena Friday night.
Hill-Murray has been on a tear lately, unbeaten in its last 11 games and having won 11 of its past 13. The Pioneers are led by Sarah Bobrowski’s 37 points and 19 goals. Jac Kaasa also scored 17 goals during the regular season.
The Ponies were on a seven-game win streak before losing to Roseville and Minnetonka to end the regular season. They bounced back with wins over North St. Paul and Cretin-Derham Hall to get to Friday’s section title game. Stillwater has a balanced attack, led by Taylor Naugle’s 25 points, which includes 10 goals. She is one of five players who finished the regular season with at least 25 points.
The two teams square off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Aldrich Arena.
Friday Girls Hockey: Blaine (22-3-2) vs. Mounds View (16-8-3)
Section 5AA title game (Roseville Arena)
Two of the top 15 teams in the state meet Friday in Roseville for a trip to the state tournament as Blaine faces Mounds View in the Section 5AA title game.
The Bengals are ranked No. 8 in Class AA and enter the game having won seven straight and 12 of their past 13 games. They beat Centennial to reach the title game. Blaine is led in scoring by Kiersten Falck’s 44 points, which includes 18 goals. Amy Schlagel led the team with 26 regular season goals. The trio of Falck, Schlagel and Samantha Swanstrom combined for 62 regular season goals.
Mounds View comes in looking to pull the upset. The Mustangs have won four straight and seven of their past nine. They’re led by Bella Sutton’s 44 regular season points. Sydney Brodt scored 21 regular season goals to lead the team.
Action starts at about 7:30 p.m. Friday at Roseville Arena.
Friday Boys Basketball: Minnetonka (15-7) at Hopkins (22-1)
There’s a great match-up in the Lake Conference in boys basketball Friday night as Hopkins hosts Minnetonka in a rivalry game at the Lindbergh Center. The Royals are ranked No. 2 in Class 4A and have won 17 straight games, including a 74-71 win over Osseo this week that was close the whole way. Hopkins is led by Jake Wright’s 17.2 points per game. Amir Coffey adds more than 14 points per game and Kamali Chambers gets about 11 per game. Minnetonka, which has won three of its past four, is coming off a 74-72 win over Wayzata on Tuesday. The Skippers are led by Seth Coatta’s 13 points per game and Justin Moes’s 12 points per contest.
Tune into WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally at about 10:20 p.m. Friday as Mike Max and David McCoy will have all the action covered.