Girls State Hockey: Hanrahan hat trick delivers Gentry first title in 4-1 win over Andover
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When a team begins a state tournament from the No. 4-seed position, any championship hopes typically depend on recording at least two upsets along the way. Gentry Academy traveled that road during the 2023 Minnesota State High School League’s Girls Hockey State Tournament and its upset efforts were rewarded with the school’s first state championship.
Senior forward Alexa Hanrahan scored three goals to complete a two-game upset surge in less than 24 hours that sent Gentry Academy to a 4-1 victory over No. 2 Andover in the Class AA championship game on Saturday, Feb. 25 at Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul. In recording the first state championship run for the Vadnais Heights-based school, Gentry Academy dashed Andover’s hopes of a successful repeat of big-school championships.
Gentry Academy, the Class A runner-up in 2021, earned a spot in this season’s Class AA championship game with a 2-1 upset in overtime over top-seeded Minnetonka late Friday night. It was also Gentry Academy’s second victory over Andover this season. In the second game of the season on Nov. 19, the Stars recorded a 4-3 victory over the Huskies in what not many would have predicted would be a state championship game preview.
The Stars (27-2-0) iced their first state championship with Hanrahan completed her hat trick on an empty-net goal with 1:06 remaining in regulation time.
Andover (27-4-0), trying mightily to rally, was held to 20 shots on goal.
Gentry Academy built a two-goal advantage after two periods behind a two-goal burst in a nearly four-minute span.
Senior forward Grace Delmonico gave the Stars that advantage following a goal that started on a 2-on-1 break. As she converged on the net, she flipped the puck over the right shoulder of Andover senior goalie Courtney Stagman. It was Gentry Academy’s third goal on just 10 shots.
Moments earlier, Gentry Academy snapped a 1-all tie when Alexa Hanrahan scored the second of her two goals. Hanrahan, who assisted on Delmonico’s tally, gathered the puck just inside the blue line. As she gained steam high between the circles, she fired a shot between two defenders that sailed past Stagman. It was Hanrahan’s 16th goal of the season and third of the tournament.
Andover climbed into a 1-all tie with 1:58 left in the first period off a goal from sophomore forward Hannah Christensen. She created the play when she fired a long rebound on net. The puck deflected off a Gentry Academy defender and caromed past Stars senior goalie Rylee Bartizel.
Gentry Academy opened the scoring on a power play goal from Hanrahan. Defender Juliana Gazdik fired the initial shot on goal, which deflected to the right side of the net. Hanrahan gathered in the puck from just behind the right post and quickly put it on her backhand and past Stagman.
Third place: Edina won the three-game season duel with Minnetonka following a 3-2 victory in the third-place game on Saturday, Feb. 25 at Xcel Energy Center. Sami Hankinson scored in the second period and Hannah Halverson added another in the third period to turn a deficit into a victory. The teams split two games during the Lake Conference schedule. Lorelai Nelson also scord for Edina (23-5-2). Ruby Rauk had a goal and an assist for Minnetonka (26-4-0).
Consolation: Olivia Dronen scored two goals in the third period to not only complete a hat trick, but also highlight a four-goal spree that sent Moorhead to a 5-1 victory over Rosemount in the consolation final on Saturday, Feb. 25 at TRIA Rink at Xcel Energy Center. Taylor Kressin made 22 saves for the Spuds (21-9-0). Annalee Holzer scored the lone goal for Rosemount (16-12-2).
Courtesy: Minnesota State High School League