Thursday, February 19, 2009

Section 8A Girl's Championship Game: Warroad - Roseau Hockey Rivalry Continues .. This Time The Girl's Hit Center Stage In Northern Tradition

By: Timothy Oshie
Publisher / Oshie Sports & Media

Northwest Minnesota's most legendary rivalry continues tonight at the Civic Center Arena in East Grand Forks, Minn.

There might be a few differences. You won't see the FOX Sports North television semi-trailers adjecent to the friendly confines of the Zamboni door nor will you see the likes of 2,500 fans in attendance, or maybe you will.

What you will see tonight is two very powerful girls hockey programs battling for Roseau County supremecy and the 2009 Section 8A representative in the Minnesota State Girl's High School Hockey Championships next week at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Roseau has won 10 of 11 games dating back to January 13th with the only blemish coming at the hands of the Warriors in a 3-2 overtime affair in front of a capacity crowd at the Rams Sports Center.

Warroad, who knocked off East Grand Forks, 7-1 on Tuesday night, comes into the contest with a 24-2-0 record on the season. Warroad's only losses coming to Breck, 3-0, back on December 29, 2008, and Duluth in a 1-0 affair on January 16 on holy grail home ice of The Gardens Arena in Warroad.

Roseau defeated Park Papids, 10-0, in the quarter-final round on February 12, then knocked off the perenniel powerhouse Crookston Pirates, 5-1, on Tuesday night at the East Grand Forks Civic Center.

Roseau boosts a 22-5-0 record with losses to Warroad (2), Edina, Hill-Murray and Crookston.

Warroad Co-Head Coach, David "Izzy" Marvin, is excited for the match-up tonight in East Grand Forks.

"It's going to be a great hockey game tonight with two programs that know a lot about each other," the third-year Warrior coach continued. "In both overtime wins this year it's came down to the bounce of the puck. In the first game, Roseau was putting on the heat and hit a post then we came down and scored the game-winner. In the second game, we caught them on a line change after a dump in on the net. Both games were fantastic."

Marvin credited both programs starting from the early youth years that has led to this fierce rivalry recentely.

"Both teams are so fimiliar with each other that it comes down to a bounce here or some puck luck there. There is mutual respect for each program and it's a great rivalry here."

Warroad's other Co-Head Coach is Derrick Comstock. Comstock has been the constant main stay in the Warriors program in all ten years of it's existance in Minnesota State High School Hockey. Other head coaches at Warroad have included Ron Tveit, Bruce Elson and Scott Knutson.

Warroad has participated in the Section championships round in nine-consecutive seasons. Moorhead knocked Warroad out in the earlier rounds in it's inaugural year back in 2000.

Izzy also credited that growing up both programs always seemed to make the MAHA State Championships.

"There is no doubt that has added to the competitiveness of both programs. We know each other so well it's like back in the old days when the North Stars (Minnesota) and Blackhawks (Chicago) would meet in the play-offs. Both teams knew each other so well it was usually decided by the bounce of the puck."

Roseau boosts four players over or near 50 points on the season (Mary Loken, 36g+28a=64 pts.; Kylie Lane, 24g+38=62 pts; Amy Olsen, 25g+26a=51 pts.; and Abby Ness, 29g+20a=49 pts.).

Warroad has four players over the half-century mark on the season (Karly Sylvester, 33g+27a=60 pts.; Layla Marvin, 16g+42a=58 pts.; Brook Story, 30g+25a=55 pts.; and Lisa Marvin, 22g+30a=52 pts.).

Both programs are very close in the statistical categories of goals scored and goals against. Roseau holds the edge in goals scored with 156 on the season to Warroad's 137 but the Warriors hold the defensive edge 23-35.

Both showcase very talented goaltenders as well. Roseau's senior netminder, Chelsey Froseth, has fantastic numbers with 28 goals against, a 1.28 GAA, and a .923 save % on the year.

Warroad's youthful sophomore, Shelby Amsley-Benzie, has only allow 22 goals against, a 0.85 GAA and a robust .954 save % on the season. Amsley-Benzie is one of the top goaltenders in the state, as is Froseth.

Roseau also has the braintrust in head coach, Brian Bergstrom, and assistants Jeff Olson and Patty Elsmore.

The puck drops tonight at 7 p.m. sharp at the East Grand Forks Civic Center.

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