Road to state begins for Bulletin area boys hockey teams

Being stuck in a section with a couple of perennial powerhouses makes its difficult for programs with less of a pedigree to get to the state tournament. That's the situation that the Irondale/St. Anthony Village and Mounds View boys hockey teams face each year.

Section 4AA is usually owned by either Hill-Murray or White Bear Lake, and that's the expected path for the section again this year as those teams are the top two seeds.

Irondale and Mounds View hope to catch lightning in a bottle the way Stillwater did last year in knocking off White Bear Lake and Hill-Murray in back-to-back games to reach the state tournament for the first time in school history.

Seventh-seeded Irondale's trip down such a path begins Saturday afternoon with a section quarterfinal against second-seeded White Bear Lake. The Bears have the most wins of any team in the section but fell to the second seed because of a 2-1 loss to Hill-Murray, the top seed, in late January.

Irondale has the fewest wins of any team in the section but was seeded ahead of North St. Paul thanks to a 5-2 victory over the Polars in the season opener back in November. The Knights' other two wins this season came against Marshall in late December and Armstrong/Cooper in mid-January.

The Irondale/White Bear Lake winner advances to the section semifinals on Feb. 25 against either sixth-seeded Tartan or third-seeded Stillwater.

Mounds View faces a bit more manageable first-round game. The Mustangs, seeded fifth, take on fourth-seeded Roseville at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The two Suburban East Conference rivals split a pair of regular-season games with Mounds View taking game one 3-2 in early December and Roseville returning the favor with an 8-7, overtime victory last month.

The Mounds View/Roseville winner takes on either eighth-seeded North St. Paul or top-seeded Hill-Murray in a semifinal on Feb. 24.

The section championship game is scheduled for Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.

All Section 4AA playoff games take place at Aldrich Arena.

—Brian Meyers

Section 4AA boys hockey playoffs

All games at Aldrich Arena
Seed, record in parentheses

Quarterfinals, Feb. 21
Game 1 — North St. Paul (8, 4-21) vs. Hill-Murray (1, 18-7), 11 a.m.
Game 2 — Irondale/St. Anthony (7, 3-19-3) vs. White Bear Lake (2, 20-5), 1 p.m.
Game 3 — Tartan (6, 12-12-1) vs. Stillwater (3, 17-8), 5 p.m.
Game 4 — Mounds View (5, 12-10-3) vs. Roseville (4, 15-10), 7 p.m.

Semifinals, 7 p.m.
Game 5 — Game 1 winner vs. Game 4 winner, Feb. 24
Game 6 — Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, Feb. 25

Championship game, Feb. 27, 7 p.m.
Game 7 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner


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