Area notebook: CLC in hand, S/SR gears up for playoffs

Area notebook: CLC in hand, S/SR gears up for playoffs

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Area notebook: CLC in hand, S/SR gears up for playoffs

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SARTELL

There’s nothing like a Central Lakes Conference championship to celebrate, especially when a lot of folks didn’t think it would happen.

Ask Sartell/Sauk Rapids senior goaltender Erin Deters.

“That was awesome,” she said. “I don’t think anybody saw it coming.”

The CLC champion Storm’N Sabres clinched the conference title with a 2-0 victory over River Lakes on Thursday.

They wound up with a 10-1-1 CLC record and 10.5 points using a system that awards one point for a victory over a team played twice and two points for a win over a team played once. Ties are worth either one or one-half point.

Alexandria (9-1-2, 16-6-2) wound up second with 10 points, followed by Fergus Falls (5-6-1, 10-12-2), the St. Cloud Icebreakers (5-6-0, 13-10-1), River Lakes (3-5-3, 9-11-4), Willmar (3-7-1, 13-9-1) and Brainerd/Little Falls (2-11-0, 2-23-1).

It was the Storm’N Sabres’ second straight conference title.

Sartell/Sauk Rapids awaits its seeding in Section 8-2A. The Storm’N Sabres lost to Roseau in the section final last year after upsetting North Wright County in the playoffs.

“One of our goals was to win the conference,” Sartell/Sauk Rapids head coach Marty Anderson said. “The other goal was to get back to the section final and we have a crack at it.

“We can still do that.”

The seedings take place this morning. Coaches from the eight section teams submit via email their rankings.

Play begins Saturday with the section champion advancing to the state Class 2A tournament Feb. 21-23 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

“We’re excited,” Deters said of the playoffs. “We are on a roll right now. Coming out of our Roseau/Warroad weekend, anything is possible.”

Anderson said he anticipates a top-four seed can make a good case for No. 3.

That would assure the Storm’N Sabres of a home game Saturday night at Bernick’s Arena in Sartell. Second-round opponents are likely to be either Roseau or North Wright County, which should be the top two seeds, he said.

The key to Sartell/Sauk Rapids’ success has been the play of its special teams, Anderson said. The team has a penalty kill that is 90 percent successful to go with a power-play unit that scores nearly 30 percent of the time.

Put Deters in net behind all that and it’s no surprise that Sartell/Sauk Rapids is 15-8-2 this season.

“Lexi Holman makes us go offensively,” Anderson said. “She’s a forward, but she runs our power play from the point. She’s also an excellent penalty killer.

“Nina Jacobson (a senior defenseman) has also had an outstanding year. She’s important on our power play and our penalty kill … Our special teams and our goaltending have been the reason for our success this year.”

Though Section 8-2A coaches don’t using the QRF power rankings used by the Minnesota-Scores.net site, Anderson’s projections are close to the QRF.

Today, they have it: No. 1 North Wright County (19-4-1, No. 12 QRF), No. 2 Roseau (15-8-1, No. 27), No. 3 Sartell/Sauk Rapids (No. 40), No. 4 St. Cloud (No. 45), No. 5 Bemidji (10-9-5, No. 48), No. 6 River Lakes (9-11-4, No. 52), No. 7 Moorhead (7-15-1, No. 55) and No. 8 Brainerd/Little Falls (2-23-1, No. 65).

That scenario would have first-round games of Brainerd/Little Falls at North Wright County, Moorhead at Roseau, River Lakes at Sartell/Sauk Rapids and Bemidji at St. Cloud, though it could easily change, Anderson said.

“We basically have a home game and then we’ll probably have to beat North Wright County and Roseau to get to state,” he said.

And for Deters and the Storm’N Sabres, that would be all right.

Notable

* Melrose senior guard Scottie Stone’s 44 points in Thursday’s 87-56 win over previously unbeaten Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa broke the Dutchmen’s single-game scoring record of 40 that Stone set Dec. 7 against Albany.

In that game, Stone broke the old mark of 39 points set by Mark Olberding in 1974. Olberding is the greatest player in Melrose history, a 6-foot-8 inside player who played in the ABA and NBA from 1975-87 for the the San Diego Sails, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Kansas City Kings and the Sacramento Kings.

* St. Cloud Apollo graduate Simon Krych has played in 16 of 25 games for Division I Nebraska-Omaha. In 127 minutes, the 6-foot-8 redshirt freshman is averaging 1.9 points and 0.8 rebounds per game for the 8-17 Mavericks.

* St. Scholastica’s Derek Steve is averaging 7.7 points in 12 games since his return to the lineup. The sophomore guard from Apollo has started 10 games for the Saints, who are 7-14. Scottie Rucks, a freshman post from St. Cloud Cathedral, is averaging 5.7 points and 2.5 rebounds per game for St. Scholastica. The Saints began the year 1-6.

* Sauk Centre alum Kali Peschel is averaging 0.7 points and 1.3 rebounds per game for the University of Iowa. Peschel is a freshman guard for the 16-7 Hawkeyes, who are 5-4 in the Big Ten Conference. Iowa plays Minnesota at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.

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