Moose Lake Area 12UB girls hockey team heads to state

The Moose Lake Area 12UB girls hockey team (27-6) participated in regional playoffs in Cloquet thanks to the team's second-place finish in the District 11 playoffs two weeks earlier.

The Moose Lake Area 12UB girls hockey team (27-6) participated in regional playoffs in Cloquet thanks to the team's second-place finish in the District 11 playoffs two weeks earlier. 

In the first game Friday against Park Rapids, the Rebels were down 1-0 after two periods but came out strong in the third to tie the game five minutes in. They scored again three minutes later and held Park Rapids to one shot over the last five minutes to secure the 2-1 win, setting up a semifinal game Saturday morning against International Falls.  

International Falls entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed from District 12 and had defeated Duluth in the first round 6-2. Against Moose Lake Area girls, the Rebels were able to find the net three times over the first 10 minutes of the second period. International Falls scored their lone goal near the end of the period, but were unable to score in the third , and the game ended with the Rebels winning 3-1.  

That victory set up a championship game Sunday. The winner of the championship game would advance to state as the region's No. 1 seed and the loser would have to play back against the consolation winner for the second state seed. 

Moose Lake Area faced the state's No. 2-ranked Northern Lakes team (which defeated Hibbing 5-2 and Proctor 6-1 in its first two games) in the title game. The game was scoreless until 10 minutes into the second period when Northern Lakes scored on a rebound that landed near the goal line. The game remained a one-goal contest until the last minute, when Northern Lakes knocked in the puck to secure a 2-0 victory. The Rebels outshot Northern Lakes 19-12, and is the only team to outshoot them all season. 


Nonetheless, the Rebels needed to return later that day to face the No. 1 seed from District 11, Proctor-Hermantown, who defeated the Rebels in dramatic fashion on a disallowed goal in the District 11 championship game two weeks earlier. 

The game began with a scoreless first period before Proctor tallied its first and only goal of the game minutes into the second period. The Rebels responded with a spectacular double-assist goal in the upper corner of the Rails net, then scored again two minutes later. It became clear that the Rebels were gaining an emotional edge, and they buried the puck in the Rails net one more time before the period ended. Five minutes into the third period the Rebels scored again, winning 4-1 and earning the second and only remaining seed to state. 

It was a true team effort by the Rebels, as all nine tournament goals were assisted, and defensively they held their opponents to 1.25 goals per game. They outshot all four teams, despite having only 10 players, the smallest roster in the tournament. 

The Rebels will open the 12UB State Tournament against Red Wing at 2 p.m. Friday, March 18, at the IRA Civic Center Arena in Grand Rapids. Besides Moose Lake Area, Red Wing and Northern Lakes, the other state participants are Edina, Wayzata, Elk River, Chisago Lakes and Mankato. The Rebels will play at noon or 4 p.m. Saturday, March 19, pending the outcome of the Friday contest. 

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