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Girls Hockey: Warriors advance on Pohlkamp's hat trick. Brainerd/LF to face Sartell/SR in Section 8-2A semifinals

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Abby Pohlkamp of the Warriors hits the puck Saturday, Feb. 9, against Moorhead during the section 8-2A quarterfinals at the Essentia Health Sports Center in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video 2 / 4
Gabbie Smith of the Warriors handles the puck Saturday, Feb. 9, against Moorhead during the section 8-2A quarterfinals at the Essentia Health Sports Center in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video 3 / 4
Olivia King of the Warriors stops the puck Saturday, Feb. 9, against Moorhead during the section 8-2A quarterfinals at the Essentia Health Sports Center. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video 4 / 4

Abby Pohlkamp was one of the last players to leave the Brainerd/Little Falls locker room after the top-seeded Warriors defeated No. 8 Moorhead 7-0 Saturday in the Section 8-2A quarterfinals at Essentia Health Sports Center.

Pohlkamp was taking her time and enjoying the playoff experience as the senior's hat trick helped move B/LF one step closer to defending its section championship.

"This feels great," said Pohlkamp, who also had a hat trick at home against the Spuds Dec. 4. "Our coaches said we needed to play with more energy and we did today."

Pohlkamp has been successful playing on a slightly different forward line since the Warriors' top point scorer, Lindsey Booth, was lost for the season with an internal injury suffered against Buffalo Jan. 26. Pohlkamp is now skating with Gabbie Smith and regular linemate Cheyenne Abear, and those two assisted on two of her goals.

"My linemates did a lot of the work on my goals," said Pohlkamp, who has a team-high 24 goals. "I really didn't feel extra pressure to score (after Booth's injury). I knew everyone would step up."

B/LF coach Jim Ernster agreed.

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Warriors 7, Moorhead 0

  • Key: Senior Abby Pohlkamp's hat trick led top-seeded Brainerd/LF
  • Overall: BLF 21-4-1, Moor 2-21-3
  • Next: No. 1 Brainerd/Little Falls hosts No. 4 Sartell/Sauk Rapids in Section 8-2A semifinals at Essentia Health Sports Center 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12
  • For more photos, go to https://bit.ly/2I4qL5z.

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"(Saturday), Abby had the hot hand," he said of Pohlkamp. "The next game it might be a different person. We had five different players score in our last regular season game at Willmar (a 5-0 win Feb. 5)."

The Warriors opened the scoring at 5:48 of the first period, less than a minute after killing off a two-skater advantage for the Spuds. Pohlkamp skated along the boards and fired a 20-foot wrist shot past Moorhead netminder Paige Schmidt to make it 1-0.

"The defender covered Gabbie (Smith) so I had a lane to take the shot," Pohlkamp said of the winning goal.

The Warriors dominated play in the first session - outshooting the Spuds 10-2 with another half dozen other shots just going inches wide of the net. B/LF goalie Olivia King, who earned her fourth shutout of the season, made a big save on a breakaway by Moorhead's Makayla Keller in the opening period.

The Warriors extended the lead to 2-0 in the opening minutes of the second period when Gabbie Smith skated in front and took a shot that was stopped by Schmidt, but Pohlkamp flipped in the rebound.

It became 3-0 at 6:58 of the period as Emma Booth scored on a shot that sailed just under the crossbar. B/LF continued to dominate play and made it 4-0 at 12:57 when Pohlkamp completed her hat trick when she fired a shot past Schmidt, who was replaced in goal by another senior Emma Kolo.

A goal by Abear gave the Warriors a 5-0 lead early in the final period when she skated through the crease and stuffed the puck past Kolo. The Spuds missed a chance to end the shutout with under three minutes left as Regan Anderson skated in alone, but King held her ground and made a big stop.

B/LF made it 6-0 on Shaylee Stroot's unassisted tally with 2:05 remaining and then added a final goal just before the final buzzer when Georgi Aus scored.

"It was nice to give some extra ice time to different girls and rest some of the regulars," Ernster said of the seven-goal victory. "It was also nice to have success against Moorhead's goalie (Schmidt), who is a bigger, veteran goalie. That will give us confidence facing a similar goalie from Sartell (Chloe Stockinger)."

Warrior notes:

• Sartell/Sauk Rapids edged Buffalo 5-3 Saturday to advance against B/LF in the semifinals. The Stormin Sabres, 15-10-1 overall, lost to the Warriors 5-1 and 3-1 this season. S/SR is led by Brooke Walters, who scored twice against Buffalo and has 27 goals, and Stockinger, who has 12 wins and a 1.92 goals-against average. Tuesday's other section semifinal matchup has No. 3 North Wright County (St. Michael-Albertville/Monticello) at No. 2 Roseau.

• Pohlkamp combined for seven goals in B/LF's three wins over Moorhead this season. She leads the Warriors with 24 goals and 37 points, followed by Lindsey Booth 12 goals and 36 points, Abear 17 goals and 33 points and Gabbie Smith 17 goals and 29 points. King now has 20 wins, a goals against of 1.59.

For more photos, go to https://bit.ly/2I4qL5z.

Moorhead 0 0 0—0

Brainerd/LF 1 3 3—7

First period: BLF-Abby Pohlkamp 22 (Taylor Larson) 5:48

Second period: BLF-Pohlkamp 23 (Gabbie Smith) 2:23; BLF-Emma Booth 3 (Lucy Peterson) 6:58; BLF-Pohlkamp 24 (Cheyenne Abear) 12:57

Third period: BLF-Abear 17 (Sophie Robinson) 2:40; Shaylee Stroot 4 14:55; BLF-Georgi Aus 2 (Stroot, Chantrelle Thayer) 16:58

Shots on goal: BLF 39, M 13

Goalies: BLF-Olivia King (13 saves); M-Paige Schmidt (21 saves), Emma Kolo at 12:57 of second period (11 saves)