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Roseville, Hill-Murray renew playoff rivalry
Over the last four seasons, the Roseville Area High School girls hockey team has lost only two section playoff games. Both of those defeats came at the hands of Hill-Murray, which has quickly turned into the Raiders’ biggest post-season rival.
That rivalry is set to be renewed this week when Roseville and Hill-Murray square off in a Section 4AA semifinal on Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Aldrich Arena.
Tuesday’s game makes it five consecutive years that the Raiders and Pioneers have faced each other in the section playoffs. The big difference this year is that the game is not the section final, which is where they met the previous four times.
In the four previous playoff meetings, each team has two victories. Roseville beat Hill-Murray 4-2 in 2010 en route to the Class AA state championship and 4-1 in 2012 en route to a state runner-up finish. The Pioneers triumphed 4-3 in 2011 and 3-1 last year.
Roseville (18-8), seeded fourth, advanced to Tuesday’s semifinal with a 6-3 victory over fifth-seeded White Bear Lake on Friday. Top-seeded and fifth-ranked Hill-Murray (21-3-1) received a first-round bye.
Another streak associated with Tuesday’s game involves Roseville and the section final. When the Raiders take the ice, they’ll be trying to advance to the section championship game for the sixth straight year. The streak began in 2009 when Roseville made the section final but lost 2-1 in overtime to Stillwater.
The other semifinal on Tuesday pits second-seeded Stillwater against third-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall. Stillwater advanced with a 3-2 win over North St. Paul on Saturday while Cretin took out sixth-seeded Tartan 3-1.
The two semifinal winners meet in the section final on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Aldrich Arena.
Raiders down pesky Bears
The 6-3 final score in Friday’s Section 4AA quarterfinal between Roseville and White Bear Lake was a bit deceiving. The fifth-seeded Bears surrendered the first goal of the game but showed that they wouldn’t go quietly.
White Bear was right in it through the first period as it matched Roseville’s three goals in the opening 17 minutes.
Following the first intermission, Roseville reasserted itself and took control with three unanswered second-period tallies.
The first period was quite wild. Raider Kathryn Larson opened the scoring four minutes into the game with a power-play goal but White Bear Lake responded with the next two goals to take a 2-1 lead.
Roseville tied it 17 seconds after falling behind as Sami Anderson’s goal knotted the score at 2-2. Claire Krelitz put Roseville back in the lead with three minutes left in the period but White Bear drew even at 3-3 with 40 seconds left on the clock.
White Bear Lake had to be feeling pretty good about itself after the first period but that positivity didn’t last long. Roseville got second-period goals rom Taylor Henthorne, Allyson Reilly and Erika Bjorkman to take the air out of the Bears’ sails. In addition to dominating on the scoreboard in the second period, the Raiders also dominated on the shot chart by outshooting White Bear Lake 12-1.
Reilly, Larson, Henthorne and Anderson each finished with a goal and an assist. Recording single assists for the Raiders were Madison Gaffney, Xylia Lang and Kendra Williams.
The win over White Bear Lake was Roseville’s 10th in a row, a streak that dates back to 2011. Since moving into Section 4AA in 2008, the Raiders and Bears have meet in the post-season four times with Roseville winning all four match-ups, including in each of the past three seasons.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.