Raiders now in section tourney
The section girls hockey tournament began Wednesday night for the Hastings Raiders.
HHS played host to the Eastview Lightning in the first round of the tournament.
Hastings, 11-13 overall, earned the No. 4 seed in the tournament. Eastview is the No. 5 seeded team. They have a 9-15 overall record.
The winner will advance to the section semifinals, set for 5 p.m. Feb. 11 at Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights. It's likely that the opponent in that game would be the No. 1 seeded team from Eagan.
The section finals are at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 in Inver Grove Heights.
Hastings has dealt with a number of injuries and illnesses this season, and coach Jeff Corkish was looking forward to having his full lineup back for Wednesday's game.
"We will finally have our full team back for the first time in over a month and a half," Corkish said. "We have had a roller coaster season getting to this point, but it will all have been a good test up to this point. Now we have to take advantage of having our lineup together."
Practice this week has been focused on limiting odd-man rushes, Corkish said.
"In practice we are working hard at seeing the ice better so as to not give up any odd man rushes as well as adding more support in the offensive zone when we get turnovers created," he said. "We need to create more offense with this and hopefully we can take the puck to the net more often with this added support. We have been getting better at dumping the puck in deep from the neutral zone, something that was causing problems for us most of the season.
"The team is really on board to make all the dumps when needed and get after the puck hard on the forecheck."
Hastings' regular season ended Saturday with a 3-2 loss to White Bear Lake.
White Bear is among the top teams in the Suburban East Conference, finishing league play with a 10-4-4 record.
WBL took a 2-0 lead in the first period.
In the second period, though, Hastings trimmed the lead to 2-1 on a power play goal by Sami Claussen, assisted by Torri Holm.
Hastings tied the score in the third period on another power play goal, this one scored by Danielle Duffy. She was assisted by Josie Stepan. Duffy scored at 1:01.
The game remained tied 2-2 until 12:11, when the Bears got the game-winner.
Hastings outshot White Bear, 24-18.
"It was a great way to play, knowing that we would be playing sections the following week," Corkish said.
Brooke Weber played in goal for Hastings. She made 15 saves.
Roseville won the SEC title with a perfect 18-0 record. Mounds View was second (14-3-1) and Stillwater was third (12-4-2).