Girls Hockey: Flying Warriors 15U team headed to state
The Brainerd/Little Falls Flying Warriors 15U team is headed to the state tournament after winning the Olympic Region Tournament Sunday, March 5, in Alexandria.
BRAINERD — The Brainerd/Little Falls 15U team sponsored by Ironfire Ironworks is headed to the state tournament scheduled for March 17-19 at Doug Woog Arena in South St. Paul.
That’s because the Flying Warriors defeated Moorhead 3-1 in the championship game of the Olympic Region Sunday, March 5, in Alexandria to advance.
BLF entered the tournament as the No. 3 ranked team in the state and quickly showed Northern Tier why with an 8-0 victory in the opening round.
Ella Wachsmuth tallied a hat trick with Rya Glas tallying two goals. BLF also received goals from Elsa Anderson, Lucy Engelstad and Avery Wikoff.
Madi Ginter collected 18 saves for the shutout win.
The Flying Warriors faced the season’s toughest test Saturday, March 4, against undefeated and No. 1 ranked Grand Rapids-Greenway.
“We had lost to them four times during the regular season,” head coach Andy Haskell said. “We knew it would take an outstanding effort by the entire team to beat them and that’s what the girls delivered.”
Goals by Wikoff, Glas and Ava Haskell resulted in a 3-1 victory. Engelstad recorded two assists and Ginter finished with 31 saves to propel the team into the finals.
That’s where it faced Moorhead, which the team had beaten three times during the regular season. However, an injury created a unique situation.
“Due to (Moorhead’s) goalie being injured, they were able to bring in a replacement goalie from Lakeville who had a great tournament and made the championship game very challenging for us,” Haskell said.
BLF outshot Moorhead 21-13 and Wachsmuth, Wikoff and Anderson were able to find the back of the net for the 3-1 victory.
“Madi Ginter really stepped up when we needed her,” Haskell said. “Giving up only two goals in three games. I am so proud of these girls for how hard they have worked all year and for how they have performed under pressure. They are gamers. They have truly bought into the team concept – everyone is pulling in the same direction. They are great kids so I’m thrilled to see their efforts rewarded with a trip to the state tournament.”
The Flying Warriors will be one of three No. 1 seeds in the state tournament. The team will open against Minnetonka noon, Friday, March 17. The Flying Warriors faced Minnetonka once this season in the Elk River Elkstravaganza Holiday tournament, winning 2-0 and going on to win the championship in that tournament.