By Nick Gerhardt
Top-seeded Northfield routed eighth-seeded Austin Wednesday 18-0 at Northfield Ice Arena to open the postseason.
The Raiders defeated the Packers 21-0 in the regular season meeting Dec. 7 in Northfield and the second meeting between Northfield and Austin played out in a similar fashion.
A total of 13 players scored goals for the Class 2A No. 7-ranked Raiders (25-1) while 14 registered a point. Ninth-grade forward Emma Peroutka led the way with three goals and four assists. Sophomore forward Taylor Krohn, junior defender Olivia Rasmussen and junior forward Emily Beaham each had two goals. Senior forward Abbi Sparks recorded her first career varsity goal and added two assists.
Senior center Ayla Puppe tallied a goal and three assists while ninth-grade defender Lily Jindra, senior winger Izzy Stephes, senior defender Grace McCoshen, senior winger Emerson Garlie, sophomore forward Ashlyn Paukert, ninth-grade defender Isabelle Paulson and sophomore defender Mia Miller each scored goals. Senior forward Rita Langford had two assists.
Northfield jumped out to an 8-0 lead through the first six minutes of the game. The Raiders scored six goals on their first 11 shots of the game. Northfield outshot the Packers (1-22-1) 32-2 in the first period and 58-6 for the game.
The Raiders had plenty of highlight reel goals but McCoshen’s third-period goal from center ice might have topped them all.
Northfield moves on to face fifth-seeded Owatonna (14-11-1) 2 p.m. Saturday at Northfield Ice Arena. The Huskies defeated fourth-seeded Mankato East 3-0 Wednesday in Mankato.
Following their lone loss of the season to Dodge County, Raiders head coach Paige Haley and the assistant coaches have focused on defensive zone play.
“We’ve been really emphasizing D-zone coverage and penalty kill,” Haley said. “Those were two areas that were very exposed when we played Dodge County. We’ve been kind of attacking those two areas.”
As the playoffs progress the games get tighter and the little things matter more. Northfield also took time to work on faceoffs in each zone this week in practice. A faceoff win in the defensive zone can make a difference especially in the postseason.
On the other side of the Section 1AA bracket, No. 3 seed Farmington defeated sixth-seeded Rochester Mayo 3-0. Second-seeded Lakeville South routed Rochester Century/John Marshall 12-0 in the other quarterfinal game. The Cougars will meet the Tigers in the semifinals Saturday.