The seeding process wasn’t going to determine much when it came to Section 5AA girls hockey.
Champlin Park head coach Jim Koltes noted that the week before the tournament was even seeded.
He was right.
Of the final four teams playing in the 5AA semifinals Feb. 12 at Roseville Ice Arena, three had advanced despite being the lower seeded team in the quarterfinal round.
That included the Rebels, which entered the tournament seeded fifth out of the nine teams in the field and immediately trumped any underdog role they might be playing by skating to a 4-1 victory over fourth-seeded Anoka Feb. 9.
The final four also included top-seeded Mounds View, however. And as the lone favorite to survive the quarterfinals, the Mustangs held firm to their seed when they met up with Champlin Park in the semifinals.
Mounds View ended the Rebels season with a 4-2 victory Feb. 12, riding a late-power play opportunity that turned a 2-2 game into a 3-2 lead for the Mustangs.
The penalty, which was whistled on Champlin Park ninth-grader Kaleigh Martinson, came moments after Martinson had tied the game up at 2-2 at 12:40 of the third.
That goal was the second answer the Rebels had mustered during the game. The first came late in the opening period, when after Mounds View had gone up a goal 2:44 into the game, Courtney Potter scored 1:25 shy of the first intermission.
When Martinson scored to tie the game in the third, the belief on the Champlin Park bench was that it was just a start. Instead, the penalty call, which Koltes insisted was questionable at best, turned into the finish.
“I don’t like to complain about officiating, but in this game, and that juncture, you can’t make that call,” he said. “[Martinson] hooked her up a little bit, but it wasn’t going to make or break the difference of who got the puck. But they still called it, and then they scored on the power play with about 20 seconds left on the kill.”
Regardless of the outcome, by advancing even that far, Champlin Park did remove a giant monkey off the back of the program.