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Minnesota Class 2A girls hockey state semifinals: Gentry Academy topples top-seeded Minnetonka

The Stars continued to apply pressure on the Skippers to reach the state final

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The No. 4-seed Gentry Academy Stars defeated the No. 1-seed Minnetonka Skippers in the Class 2A state tournament semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center.

Minnetonka got off to a blazing start two minutes into the game as junior Molly Ryan got the scoring started for the Skippers with a rocket from the edge of the circle to give Minnetonka an early 1-0 lead. That lead held true for the rest of the period as Gentry Academy's offense was close to nonexistent in the period, getting out shot 10-3.

“We've been a second period team all year,” Gentry Academy head coach Billy Hengen said. "So when we can survive the first period, we know that we can go to work in the second.”

Gentry Academy was able to build some momentum early in the second period thanks to a tripping call that gave the Stars a power play. Though the Stars were not able to convert on the power play, they were able to gain some confidence and started putting more pucks on net. 

That confidence the Stars gained started to grow late in the second period as they nearly evened the game at one. Gentry Academy forward Grace Delmonico hit the post from point-blank range, and she was unable to corral the rebound as the Skippers were eventually able clear the zone to end the scoring threat. 

They out shot the Skippers 9-3 in the period but still trailed by one goal going into the second intermission.

“We knew that we morally won the second period, so it was it lot different in the locker room after because we knew we had that momentum," Hengen said.

It was back and forth action early in the third period. Both teams were able to get themselves quality looks at the net. Gentry Academy broke through midway through the third period as the Stars executed a two on one to perfection to finally find that elusive goal they needed to tie the game at one. Cara Sajevic set up the senior Alexa Hanrahan, and all she had to do was slide it into the open net.

“Before I scored, I knew we were about to get one because earlier we hit the post,” Hanrahan said. “Once the puck went into the net, I knew we had the game”

Gentry Academy continued to pressure as they looked for the game-clinching goal. The Stars almost found that goal as they were gifted a two on zero opportunity after a botched line change by Minnetonka, but the Skippers opted to take a tripping penalty to kill the opportunity. The Stars were unable to convert on the power play and the game went to overtime.

It only took three minutes in the extra session as Gentry Academy forward Ellie Sarauer came down the ice and put a shot on net from the boards that found the back of the net to send the Stars to the state championship game.

“There was one girl on me and I saw the lane," Sarauer said. “Coach has been telling us all three periods to just get shots on net so that's what I did, and it worked out .”

Gentry Academy will play Andover on February25 for the Class 2A state championship at 7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center.