The first teams started punching their tickets to the State Tournament last night.
The two championship games played at the Target Center last night, Section 2AA and 6AA, were hyped as "being better than the state tournament" with four of the state's top teams in action. But let's hope the games at the state tournament are more exciting, as neither game was particularly close.
Eden Prairie stayed in the first game with Minnetonka, leading 2-1 in the second period, but Eden Prairie played with a very short bench from the start of the game and ran out of gas about midway through the game. Minnetonka scored six unanswered goals for an easy 7-2 win. Minnetonka definitely proved they're the best team in the state.
In the second final, Edina scored three quick goals on Bloomington Jefferson in the second period to cruise to a 4-1 win. Jefferson actually outshot Edina in this game, but Edina had a definite advantage in quality of shots on goal.
Maybe it was because neither game was all that close, but the atmosphere inside the Target Center was pretty dull all night. I'd guess at the peak, there were about 10,000 people there, but there were still large sections of the upper bowl empty. It just had more of the feel of a state tournament game than what you'd normally have at a high school game. I thought the Target Center itself did a nice job hosting though. They had all the concession stands open and did a nice job of directing everyone to their team-specific sections.
I'll be interested to see if they tighten up the boards before Minnesota and Wisconsin play there on Friday night. They were incredibly live for last night's game, and if pucks shot by high schoolers were jumping off the back boards out to the front of the net, I could see it being a big problem with college players shooting.
Elsewhere in the state, Roseau knocked off Moorhead 2-1, and will return to the state tournament. And Virginia beat HIbbing/Chisholm 3-0 to advance to the Class A state tournament.