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Girls Hockey: Raiders playoff run ends in section finals

The season ended in unwanted and familiar fashion for the Raiders, again.

For the second-straight season, the Hastings High School girls hockey team had its hopes for the state tournament deterred one-game too soon, in the section championship.

Hastings lost to Eagan 5-1 last Wednesday in the Section 3AA championship, ending the Raiders playoff run.

"Eagan is a pretty good team with good team speed and really good goaltending," Hastings head coach Jeff Corkish said. "There is a reason they were the No. 1-ranked team in our section."

The loss closed out another successful season for the Raiders, one which started with a lot of question marks, according to Corkish.

"If you would have told us at the beginning of the season, this was how the year was going to go, we would have taken it in a heartbeat," he said. "We had a lot of question marks coming into the season."

Hastings finished the season 19-8-1 overall and 9-6-1 in the Suburban East Conference.

They defeated Rosemount 4-0 in the opening round of sections, and followed with a 3-2 win against No. 2 seed Eastview in the semifinals.

But the No. 3-seed Raiders couldn't get past the top seed.

"We didn't get many chances and when we did, the bounces didn't go our way or we couldn't beat their (goaltender)."

University of Minnesota recruit Alyssa Grogan turned away 21 of 22 Raiders' shots to earn the win for Eagan.

Hastings fell behind 2-0 in the first two periods, as Lisa Berreman scored a goal in each period for Eagan.

Leading 2-0 midway through the third period, Eagan extended the lead unexpectedly on the power play. Berreman scored her third goal of the season at the 9:37 mark. Hastings had allowed just one-power play goal during the conference season. Eagan made it 4-0 six seconds later before Hastings notched its first goal of the game.

Freshman Courtney Boucher scored at the 14:37 mark on assists by senior Danielle Welch and sophomore Mackenzie Holm for the Raiders lone goal.

Eagan added an empty-netter in the final minute for the final goal of the game.

Hastings senior goalie Devon Alwin took the loss in net, stopping 24 of 28 shots.

"It was a tough way for us to end the season, but we are proud of the girls," Corkish said. "They gave their best effort and it just didn't go our way that night."

Corkish said his seniors helped answer most of the question marks coming into the season.

"Goaltending was one (question mark) because (Alwin) didn't have the varsity experience coming in and she had an unreal year," he said. "I was real happy with our seniors. They were very coachable and our juniors, sophomores, freshman and eighth-graders stepped up their level of play because they saw how important it was for the seniors."

Welch led the team in scoring for the third-straight season for Hastings, tallying 34 goals and 15 assists for 49 points. Welch, a top-10 finalist for the Ms. Hockey award this season, will play at Boston College next season.

Senior defenseman Nicole Chorney led the team in assists this season with 20, and was second on the team with 28 points.

Welch and Chorney were captains this year and two of four Raiders to score more than 20 points. Sophomore Jordy Klimek was third on the team with 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) and freshman Brittany Huneke was fourth with 21 points (five goals, 16 assists). Boucher was fifth on the team with 18 points (nine goals, nine assists).

Alwin finished the season with a 19-8-1 record with a 1.28 goals-against average, a .941 save percentage and nine shutouts.