The Faribault Falcons girls hockey team scored a hard 5-4 win over the defending Class 1A champion Red Wing Wingers at the Faribault Ice Arena Saturday night. The win gives them a rematch with top seed Rochester Lourdes Valentines Day at 5:00 p.m.  The Eagles had a 6-2 victory over Albert Lea in Rochester in the other semifinal game.

Red Wing sent a message early they would not give up their section title easily.  The Wingers scored 1:59 into the game when senior Margaret Grove connected for her 6th goal of the season assisted by Jamie Chaska (2).  In their only meeting during the regular season the Falcons defeated Red Wing 5-0, so the message early was you are going to have to earn that title game.

I always say anything worthwhile in life should not be easy.  This win for Faribault was not even close to being easy.  The Falcons tied the game at 13:28 of the period when junior Abigail Goodwin scored her 11th goal of the season assisted by junior Tegan Herrley (1) and senior Kayli Burkhartzmeyer (14).

The tie did not last very long.  At 15:28 Red Wing's top scorer senior Eliza Dinatale scored her 24th goal this year, assisted by classmate Emily Hart.

With under a minute to go in the period Faribault junior Olivia Williamson took the puck from neutral ice and weaved around three Wingers to score an unassisted goal.  It was her 40th of the season and tied the game at 2 with 49 seconds to go in the period.  The Falcons were fortunate to have a tie because they were clearly outplayed in the period.

Faribault had 3 penalties in the period, meaning Red Wing was on the power play six minutes of the 17 minute period.  The Falcons did not allow a power play goal but were outshot 12 to 6.

Twenty four seconds into the second period Red Wing took the lead again when Emily Hart scored her 20th goal of the season.  Assisted by Allison Roe (6) and Grove (12).  Faribault tied the game again at 5:21 when Burkhartzmeyer scored her 18th goal assisted by freshman Regan Bulger (6) and Goodwin (16).  Bulger was just below the Winger blue line when she took a hard shot that was redirected by Goodwin to Burkhartzmeyer and in the net in a heartbeat.

Twenty four seconds later, while public address announcer Troy Marquardt was still giving us the specifics of the previous score Faribault buried the puck again to take their first lead of the game when Goodwin scored her second goal of the contest and 12th of the season.  The score was assisted by Burkhartzmeyer (15) and I thought Olivia Williamson (22) but the official score sheet had the assist go to Herrley (2).  It was a lead the Falcons would not relinquish.  It should be noted Faribault had a goal waved off due to an official's premature whistle. The Falcons outshot Red Wing 12 to 8 in the period.

The third period Faribault had 3 total shots to Red Wing's 11 as Falcon junior goalie Mikayla Bohner collected some incredible saves.  Stuff attempts, long shots that were redirected, at the crease shots.  Bohner had pad saves, stick saves, skate kicks of the puck and glove saves.  For that performance (27 saves) Bohner was named one of our Faribault State Farm Insurance agents Faribault players of the game.

11:01 of the third period Burkhartzmeyer scored her 19th goal of the season assisted by senior Ellie Knutson (9).  It would prove to be an important one.  One of the reasons the Falcons only tallied 3 shots in the period was Red Wing appeared to execute a determined physical handling of Olivia Williamson.  A couple of times when the state's second leading scorer had the puck and was trying to skate closer to the net she was literally pushed down to the ice, one time wrapped by a hockey stick.  No penalty was called.

The Wingers cut the lead to one with a goal with 4:04 to go in the game.  Dinatale scored her second of the contest and 25th of the season, assisted by Hart (15).

Red Wing pulled their goalie for the extra attacker with just over two minutes to go in the game and did get some quality shots but Bohner delivered in the clutch.

Total shots on goal for the game were 31 for Red Wing, 21 for Faribault.  The Falcons had four penalties whistled on them and the Wingers were assessed one penalty over the 51 minutes.

Red Wing ended their season 7-17-2.  Faribault is now 19-6 and if they get their 20th victory of the season will be state tournament bound.

Falcons Head Coach Ali Miller told KDHL during the KFC Faribault Coaches Show the day after they lost to Rochester Lourdes 6-1 she was encouraged by what she saw.  Miller said, "They are beatable."  She added her team had to be "disciplined" and "stay out of the penalty box."

In addition to Bohner, Goodwin, Burkhartzmeyer and Williamson were named Faribault State Farm players of the game courtesy of Faribault State Farm agents Jason Krohn and Tony Langerud.  At the time I thought Williamson had a multiple point game and not Herrley.  So let's add Herrley to the honor.

Abigail Goodwin Scores One of Her Two Goals. Photo by Todd Rost


Kayli Burkhartzyer had 2 Goals and 2 Assists. Photo by Todd Rost
Falcons Celebrate Goal in Section 1A Semifinal. Photo provided by Todd Rost

The Big 9 Conference is guaranteed a team in the Class A MSHSL Girls State Hockey Tournament.  Mankato East and Mankato West advanced to the title game in Section 3A following a pair of thrilling semifinal games.  Top seed Mankato East defeated Luverne in overtime 4-3 and it took two overtimes for #3 seed Mankato West to upend #2 seed Marshall 3-2.  The two Mankato schools play 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter for the state berth.

In Section 1AA top seed Farmington rolled over #5 seed Lakeville South 8-0 and #2 seed Lakeville North skated by #3 seed Dodge County 5-2.

The Tigers and Panthers will square off for the 1AA title 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Four Seasons Arena in Owatonna.