John Molene / Sports Writer
Sophomore forward Marco Troje scored a hat trick, including the game-winning goal in overtime, to lead a surging East Ridge to a 4-3 win over Park in the Section 3AA play-in game at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena Tuesday, Feb. 20. “We found a way,” Troje said. “We knew the season was on the line. We had to all buy in.”
Park’s five starting seniors got to end their regular season home careers with a win, but visiting East Ridge made them work for it. Park snapped a two-game losing streak with a 44-33 victory over winless East Ridge Tuesday, Feb. 20, in Suburban East Conference girls basketball.
The first two these two archrivals played this season – a 69-57 Woodbury win at East Ridge back on Jan. 10 – a more experienced Woodbury team took advantage of a still-jelling East Ridge squad. Tuesday night the roles were reversed in a surprisingly lopsided 69-44 East Ridge win in a Suburban East Conference boys basketball game at Woodbury.
WOODBURY — East Ridge junior Carter Smith had two individual wins, and a leg on a winning relay, to help lead the Raptors past Park in a dual swim meet Thursday at Woodbury Middle School. East Ridge won the meet, 101-73, improving to 5-1 in dual meets this season. The Raptors went 1-2-3 in the butterfly and also scored big points in the backstroke, individual medley and 200 freestyle relay to distance themselves from the Wolfpack.
INVER GROVE HEIGHTS — East Ridge battled, but top-seeded Eagan skated into the Section 3AA championship with a 2-0 win over the Raptors Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights. Eagan (21-5-2) will play South Suburban Conference rival Apple Valley (12-14-1) for the section title Wednesday. East Ridge ends its season with a 13-14 record.
Park's girls hockey season came to a sudden end as the third-seeded Wolfpack were upset by sixth-seeded Eastview 4-1 in the first round of Section 3AA play Wednesday at Cottage Grove Ice Arena. Park ended its season with a 13-12-1 record. Eastview (8-16-2) advances to the section semifinals for a game against second-seeded Apple Valley (13-13-1). Apple Valley edged Hastings 3-2 Wednesday. In Section 4AA girls hockey, seventh-seeded Woodbury dropped a 5-0 decision to second-seeded Mounds View at Aldrich Arena Saturday afternoon.
WOODBURY — Host East Ridge put a late-game scare into visiting St. Paul Central in a rare Wednesday evening game, only to fall 59-52. The Raptors cut a 12-point second-half deficit down to five points with 36 seconds remaining, but could come no closer. It was also East Ridge's first game without sophomore center and leading scorer Kate Burns, who will miss the rest of the season with a fractured bone in her foot. Burns has battled through the injury all season before the pain got to great to continue.
Woodbury's Royals broke a five-game losing streak in dramatic fashion Friday night, outlasting visiting No.10 Roseville in a 61-55 double-overtime win. Star senior point guard Rachel Hakes made 7 of 8 free throws and sophomore guard Carley West scored five points in the second overtime to lift the Royals to the victory. Woodbury (10-10, 6-5) came into Friday's game with five straight losses, including tough three-point defeats at Edina and Forest Lake, and a two-point loss on the road at Hudson.
WOODBURY — Junior forward Erin Glancey put in two goals to lead East Ridge to a 3-1 win over Park at Bielenberg Arena Saturday evening in the regular-season finale for both teams. After a 1-1 tie in the first period, East Ridge took a 2-1 lead into the final minute, then scored the clinching goal on an empty net tally. It was the fourth straight win for the Raptors and sends the team into the section playoffs on a high note. Both teams came in skating well. While East Ridge had won three straight, Park had won four of its last five.
COTTAGE GROVE — Park's Mandy Hafner and Brenna Sommerland finished 1-2 in the all-around to lead the Wolfpack to a dual meet win over visiting Woodbury Friday. Park won the competition, 136.5 to 126.775 for the Royals. Hafner edged Sommerland for the all-around title, 35.725 to 35.425. Ella Endrizzi of Woodbury was third in the all-around with a score of 32.650. Sydne Blahnik of Park was fourth with a 31.550, followed by Woodbury's Emma Golden (31.225) and Michelle Kittelson (29.650).