A four-goal second period snapped a scoreless tie and lifted the second-seeded Moorhead Spuds past the No. 7 Brainerd Warriors 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the Section 8-2A tournament Saturday at Moorhead.
Ashley Stenerson (2), Carrie Johnson and Jenna Braun scored for the Spuds in the second to deal a blow to the Warriors' hopes of an upset.
"I thought, quite honestly, if we could come out of the first period 0-0 that our girls would just continue to battle and battle and get stronger," Warriors coach Jim Ernster said. "As soon as Moorhead scored their second goal you could see the heads on our bench go down a little. It's too bad because (the first two goals) just completely took the wind out of our sails."
Moorhead 4, Warriors 1
The key: The Spuds scored four second-period goals and outshot Brainerd 39-19
Overall: Brainerd finishes 14-12-0.
Stenerson and Johnson scored on deflections of shots by defenseman Allie Bondy.
Stenerson's second goal was on a wraparound. Braun knocked in a rebound with 36 seconds remaining in the second.
"Any time you give up a goal in the first minute or the last minute that's a deal-breaker right there," Ernster said.
Jess Bye had the only goal for Brainerd, assisted by Alyssa Wiebusch. Goalie Kayla Helmberger made 35 saves.
The Warriors, who finished, 14-12-0, have won a section quarterfinal game only once in 10 years as a varsity program (in the 2000-01 season).
"You're always disappointed from the standpoint of losing again in the quarterfinals," Ernster said. "There seems to be a mental and physical hurdle the girls can't seem to get by, playing Moorhead.
"From a coaching standpoint we have to continue to re-evaluate and see what it will take for us as a staff to get the girls to the next level. It's disappointing after this many years that we haven't solved that puzzle.
"But I think with what we have coming back, and a sophomore class that we think is physically and mentally one of the more talented classes coming through in the last 6-7 years, and the girls coming up from our 14-U team, that we will be OK in the future."
Brainerd 0 0 1 - 1
Moorhead 0 4 0 - 4
Second period: Moor, Ashley Stenerson (Allie Bondy, Stacy Johnson) 3:45; Moor, Carrie Johnson (Bondy) ppg 7:31; Moor, Stenerson (Megan Morinville) ppg 13:24; Moor, Jenna Braun (Ashley Cooper), 16:24.
Third period: Brd, Jess Bye (Alyssa Wiebusch) 16:44.
Shots on goal: Moor 10-22-7-39, Brd 7-5-7-19
Goalies: Brd, Kayla Helmberger (35 saves), Moor, Miller (18 saves).
Mike Bialka can be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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