Skip to main content

Warroad defeats Dodge County in Class 1A MSHSL girls hockey title game, earns third straight title

The Warriors win their fifth girls hockey title in school history

ST. PAUL — The No. 4-seed Warroad Warriors (22-8) defeated the No. 3-seed Dodge County Wildcats (23-5) 5-2 in the Class 1A Minnesota high school girls hockey state tournament championship on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center. 

For the Warriors, its the third straight Class 1A title and fifth in school history. Their opponent, Dodge County was in its first state tournament in program history. 

The experience mattered. Despite losing 10 players from last season's team, nine of them to college hockey, the Warriors still have institutional experience. After going down by a goal early, Warroad quickly scored with two goals, and the Wildcats could not recover in time.

"For this being my first year, I could tell the girls knew what they needed to do," Warroad goalkeeper Payton Rolli said. "No one knew that this would be the outcome at the end of the year."

Dodge County opened the scoring with a power play goal from Nora Carstensen. She got the puck on the left side and placed it in the top corner of the net.

"We know how to play from behind," senior Maddie Skogman said. "We are a relentless team. ... Those goals don't get us down. Those goals fire us up."

Warroad scored two goals in quick succession late in the first period. Kaiya Sandy worked around and defender and hit the top of the net on the near side to tie the game at one. 

Jaylie French scored when Dodge County goalie Ida Huber let a puck slip through her pads and across the line for a 2-1 Warroad lead entering the the second period. 

"I could see in the locker room early on little things that don't normally bother us today got under their skin today," Dodge County head coach Jeremy Gunderson said. "You could see it on the ice. It was a great goal by [Carstensen]. ... I think after that goal our kids got excited. The kids eyes got high and we played a little tight."

Warroad continued its momentum in the second period. The Wildcats had poor luck when Warroad's Taylor Reese drove the puck the net, and a rebound bounced off a Wildcat defender and went in. 

Four minutes later, Vivienne Marcowka scored through the five-hole on a 1-on-1 chance for a 4-1 Warroad lead. 

Taylor Reese scored in the third period. Maddie Skogman had the puck just next to the trapezoid when she fired it across goal. Huber's pads slowed it down in time for Reese to put it into the net for a 5-1 lead. 

It didn't look like the Warriors had replaced almost two full lines from last season, but this team showed a different side of Warroad girls hockey.

"We had to dump pucks, get hard on the forecheck, and our penalty kill was great all year," assistant coach Layla Marvin said. "When you talk about that high-end skill we had last year, I think that our power play numbers would tell you just that, but we overcame that. ... I'm just really, really proud of the girls."

Dodge County pressured the Warriors in the third period. Alexa Van Straaten scored from the center point with a shot that avoided bodies in front to cut the lead to 5-2. The Wildcats outshot the Warriors 10-4 in the third period. 

"That's going to give us a lot of push, and it's going to give us a lot of motivation for next year," Carstensen said.

By the third period's end, both teams had 20 shots on goal in the game. Rolli had 18 saves. 

For Marvin and the Warroad players, there is no desire for any move to Class 2A after three-straight titles.

"I think Class 1A is our spot," Marvin said. "It's hard to win, and we've gotten a lot out of our girls when its mattered most this year."

Stay with SBLive Minnesota for full coverage of the state tournament including previews, brackets, game recaps and live score updates throughout the week.

This page will be updated with a full recap.

Download the SBLive Sports App

To get live updates on your phone - as well as follow your favorite teams and top games - you can download the SBLive Sports app: Download iPhone App | Download Android App

- Jack Butler | | @Butler917