Girls hockey: Garlie’s last-minute goal sends Northfield back to state

By Nick Gerhardt

Northfield senior Emerson Garlie did it again — this time it clinched a trip to the state tournament.

Garlie scored with 51 seconds left to give the top-seeded Raiders a 4-3 victory over second-seeded Lakeville South at Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna for the Section 1AA championship. Garlie provided the game winner in the semifinals Feb. 10 in a 2-1 overtime game against Owatonna at Northfield Ice Arena.

Garlie found a spot in front of the Cougars goal and when a loose puck slid her way she fired it into the back of the net for her second straight game-winning goal.

No. 8-ranked Northfield (27-1) is headed back to the state tournament for the first time since the 2021-22 season and the school’s fourth trip overall.  

The Raiders jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second period behind a pair of goals from senior center Ayla Puppe and one from ninth-grade defender Lily Jindra. Puppe scored twice on the power play with her first goal coming 1:03 into the period. Puppe skated past two defenders and sent a backhand shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. Jindra scored at 4:32 after she collected a loose puck in the slot to score and Puppe tallied her second goal at 15:10 on a rush. Sophomore defender Mia Miller assisted on both of Puppe’s goals and Garlie drew a penalty that led to a power play for Puppe’s second goal. Sophomore forward Ashlyn Paukert assisted on Jindra’s goal. 

The No. 12-ranked Cougars (21-4-3) stormed back in the third period to tie the game with less than five minutes to play. Sophia Kuhns scored at 2:29 of the period to make it 3-1 after she put in a rebound following a breakaway chance from Camdend Hopper. Ella Fowler made it a one-goal game when she scored at 11:08. Fowler collected a loose puck just inside the Northfield blue line and drove to the net for an uncontested shot. Lilly Hunst tied the game 3-3 with a power-play goal with 3:45 left to play with a shot from the right circle that found the upper corner of the net. 

The section championship pitted Northfield against Lakeville South for another playoff meeting. The Raiders defeated the Cougars 5-2 last season before falling to Lakeville North 5-3 in the title game. The Panthers moved to Section 3AA this season. 

Lakeville South outshot Northfield 34-25, including a 2-to-1 advantage in the third period. Raiders junior goaltender Macy Mueller stopped 31 shots to pick up her 27th victory of the season. Northfield killed off five of the six penalties it took in the game.

Other state-bound teams include Rosemount, Hill-Murray, Andover and Roseau. Three other section championship games took place Friday, Feb. 16. Northfield received the No. 5 seed for the state tournament and will face fourth-seeded Edina in the quarterfinals at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center. The two teams met in the quarterfinals in the 2022 Class 2A state tournament. The Hornets defeated the Raiders 7-0 as the second-seeded team.