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Royals skate to 2-1 showing

Woodbury's Luke Danielson shoots between two Eagan defenders in the third period Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in a 2-1 win by the Royals. John Molene / Contributor1 / 4
Senior forward Trent Stene of the Royals moves the puck into scoring position against South St. Paul Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. John Molene / Contributor2 / 4
Woodbury sophomore Tyler Barry brings the puck up in the third period against South St. Paul Saturday night, Dec. 30, 2017, in the finals of the Premier Tournament. John Molene / Contributor3 / 4
Junior Isaac Wuotila had a standout game against Eagan in the semifinals of the South St. Paul tournament Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, allowing just one goal in Woodbury's 2-1 victory. John Molene / Contributor4 / 4

It was a tough finish to a pretty good tournament for the Woodbury Royals Saturday.

Woodbury skated in with a modest 1-7 record, but won two of three games in the tournament.

Unfortunately for the Royals, the closing game, a 4-0 loss to host South St. Paul, was a disappointing end at Doug Woog Arena in South St. Paul.

But Woodbury played well in victories in Games 1 and 2 in the South St. Paul Premier Tournament, topping St. Paul Johnson 4-1 in the opener and then edging Eagan 2-1 in the semifinals.

"The positives are, of course, we won a couple of games this week, we got some goals scored and Isaac had a great game yesterday in the semifinals," said Woodbury head coach Wes Bolin. "That was exciting. You know we talked about how mature teams are able to handle success and build upon success and we'll find out if we can kind of turn a corner a little bit. We didn't quite answer the bell in the first and second period."

South St. Paul pushed across two goals in the first and two more in the second period as the Royals never got much going Saturday night.

The Packers outshot the Royals 25-16. Woodbury junior goalie Isaac Wuotila and the Woodbury defense had their hands full against an opportunistic Packers offense the entire match.

"We didn't handle the puck very well," Bolin said. "On our power play we mishandled pucks, we missed passes. We probably went through a stretch there in the third period where we missed 15 passes in a row, 10 to 15 passes in a row. Hard to win when you turn the puck over every chance you get. So that's disappointing. We obviously have work to do there. We just made some mental mistakes as well and give South St. Paul a ton of credit. They're a nice team. They played well and they're playing well."

South St. Paul improved to 7-4.

Still, it was a step or two in the right direction for the Royals.

Quick start Friday

Woodbury had often found success in the Premier Tournament, with three tournament championships, four runner-up finishes and three thirds in the past dozen years. It was the second straight runner-up finish for the Royals.

In Friday's semifinal, Woodbury scored twice in the first period and then held on for a 2-1 win over Eagan.

Woodbury sophomore forward Quinn Krueger scored just 1:27 into the first period and senior forward Bradlee Felton made it a 2-0 lead at the 16:53 mark of the period.

Eagan closed to 2-1 with a second period goal. Neither team could score in the third period.

Woodbury's defense and goalie Wuotila turned back Eagan attack after attack in the third period. Wuotila made a whopping 37 saves in all.

Thursday's victory

Woodbury opened the tournament Thursday with a 4-1 win over St. Paul Johnson.

The Royals took a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals by senior forward Tim Dornfield. Dornfield slammed in the opening shot for a 1-0 lead with just a second gone in the period.

St. Paul Johnson closed to 2-1 with a second-period goal but the third period was all Royals.

Junior forwards Jac Triemert and Zach Lanz added goals for the Royals in the third period for a 4-1 advantage.

Krueger added two assists for the Royals. Ayden Hooley, Trent Stene, Lanz and Triement all had an assist each.

Wuotila stopped 26 of 27 shots in the net for Woodbury.

Woodbury (now 3-8), hosts Mounds View (2-9) Thursday at Bielenberg Ice Arena.