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Tough week for RAHS in section tournaments
As winter’s icy grip refuses to let go here in Minnesota, finding indoor activities continues to be difficult. Unfortunately, a pair of Roseville Area High School boys athletic teams were unable to extend their seasons and provide some addition entertainment options.
Here’s a look at how the Raiders’ boys hockey and boys basketball teams saw their campaigns conclude.
The harsh reality for Roseville is that every year it usually has to deal with Hill-Murray or White Bear Lake in the section playoffs. This time around it was the Pioneers who blocked the Raiders’ path to the state tournament.
Meeting in the Section 4AA semifinals on Feb. 25, Hill-Murray got up early and allowed the Raiders’ few quality scoring chances. Those two factors added up to a 5-1 victory for the Pioneers.
Hill-Murray got on the board in a hurry as Zach Mills beat Roseville goalie Quinn Huff just 91 seconds into the game. The Pioneers added to that early advantage with their second goal at 6:01 of the first.
The Hill-Murray lead ballooned to four goals as the Pioneers scored twice in a three-minute span midway through the second period. Hill-Murray then closed out its scoring with a goal 6:39 into the third.
Roseville avoided the shutout when Andrew Colvard bagged a power-play goal in the final two minutes of the third. Matt Irwin provided the assist.
Huff didn’t have his best game as he surrendered four goals on 14 shots before being lifted. Ryan Hoag replaced Huff and stopped 15 of the 16 shots he faced in the 24 minutes he played.
Roseville managed just 17 shots against Hill-Murray netminder Sam Illgen.
The Raiders, who reached the semifinals via their 5-1 quarterfinal win over Mounds View, finished the season with a record of 16-8-3.
Hill-Murray went on to face the surprise of the post-season Stillwater. The third-seeded Ponies upset second-seeded White Bear Lake 2-1 in the semifinals and did the same to the Pioneers in the section final to clinch the school’s first-ever berth in the state tournament.
The Raiders split their season series with Stillwater as each team won on the other’s home court. The rubber match was Feb. 26 in the quarterfinals of the Section 4AAAA playoffs and Roseville started the night with two strikes against it.
Based on the regular-season results, the fourth-seeded Raiders were in trouble right off the bat because the game was played at Roseville. Adding to their troubles was the fact that junior Jesper Horsted would not play after injuring an ankle against Cretin-Derham Hall in the regular-season finale five days earlier.
Stillwater, the fifth seed, entered the game looking to end Roseville’s season for the second consecutive year and did so by beating the Raiders 56-47. The Ponies held Roseville to its lowest point-total of the season and 30 points below its season average.
You have to go back two years to find a lower offensive output in a game for Roseville. The Raiders lost 47-45 to a team from Milwaukee in a game played in La Crosse, Wisc. Games in Wisconsin are played in four eight-minute quarters so that game was four minutes shorter than games in Minnesota.
The last time Roseville scored fewer points in a 36-minute game was in January of 2009.
Roseville trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half and had only 18 at the break. The Raiders got to within three points of Stillwater as Kyler Briggity’s two free throws made it 27-24. The Ponies answered with an 8-2 run to regain control.
Roseville was especially cold from beyond the arc as it missed all 20 of its three-point attempts.
Jake Geyen paced the Raiders with 18 points and was joined in double figures by Kobe Critchley, who scored 10.
Defensively, Roseville had one of its better games at least points-wise. The 56 points given up was the fourth-lowest total of the season for the Raiders. Stillwater had only two players reach double figures as Matt Anderson hit for a game-high 19 and Kyle McKinley added 10.
Stillwater advanced to the semifinals with the victory but saw its season conclude on Saturday. The Ponies battled top-seeded Woodbury to overtime but fell 84-78.
The Section 4AAAA championship will be decided Wednesday at 8 p.m. at East Ridge High School in a game between Woodbury and third-seeded Tartan. The Titans edged White Bear Lake by four points in the quarterfinals and rallied from 10 points down in the second half to upset second-seeded Mounds View in the semifinals.
Brian Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.