The Farmington Tigers girls' hockey team is state tournament-bound for the second time in three years after a nail-biter of a game Thursday night, Feb. 14, in Owatonna. The Tigers faced off with the Lakeville North Panthers last night at the Four Seasons Center and led 4-1 in the second period. However, North came back to tie the game and send it to overtime. After a scoreless first overtime, Farmington scored less than a minute into the second overtime to win 5-4 and advance to the state tournament for the second time in three years. Two years ago, the Tigers won the consolation bracket with wins over Forest Lake and Eastview after falling to Edina in the opening round.
Many fans most likely had flashbacks to last year's Section 1AA championship game where Farmington led Lakeville South 5-3 after two periods before the Cougars scored three unanswered goals in the third to advance. However, this time the Tigers were able to survive the comeback and secure the win. This was the third time this season Farmington beat Lakeville North and beating a team three times in one season is extraordinarily difficult due to familiarity.
Senior Jenna Gerold started off the scoring with an unassisted goal in the first two minutes. Not even three minutes later freshman Claire Enright scored with help from fellow freshman Samantha Moehle and the Tigers led 2-0. North then answered to cut Farmington's lead to 2-1 late in the first but the Tigers were able to go ahead 3-1 before the end of the period on another goal from Enright, this time unassisted.
Sophomore Brenna Fuhrman scored unassisted a couple minutes into the second period on a power play and Farmington led 4-1. Lakeville North scored midway through the period and the Tigers led 4-2 after the second. The Panthers then scored two more goals in the third-one on a penalty shot-to send the game into overtime. After a scoreless first overtime, Enright scored with help from Gerold (giving her the hat trick for the game) in the opening minute of the second overtime to give the Tigers the win.
Penalties played a significant role in the game as the two teams committed a total of 16 infractions for 30 penalty minutes. Farmington committed 10 of those penalties but the Panthers were just 1-for-8 on power plays, while the Tigers were just 1-for-6. Farmington outshot Lakeville North 28-22 across the four-plus periods.
Seeds and brackets have not yet been determined for the state tournament, which runs Feb. 20-23 at the Xcel Energy Center and TRIA Rink at the Treasure Island Center. Farmington is the Section 1AA champions, East Ridge is headed to state from Section 3AA and Andover are Section 7AA champions. The rest of the section championship games are being played Friday, Feb. 15.
Check back for comments from head coach Jon Holmes and Tiger players.