Hockey: Elk girls grab share of NWSC title, beating Centennial 3-1

Josie Brown (front) and teammates skated toward their bench after her power play goal gave the Elks the lead. (Photo by Bob Burley)

 

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Elk River-Zimmerman was given an opening to earn a share of the conference championship on Saturday evening, and came through.

The Elks pulled out a 3-1 victory over Centennial on a pair of goals by Josie Brown in the final six minutes and tied Anokta for the Northwest Suburban crown.

The No. 7 ranked Elks (18-3-3) and No. 3 ranked Anoka (21-2-2) wound up with identical 14-2-2 records, as Anoka, the sole leader all season, was beaten by Andover 3-1 earlier Saturday.

Jonna Curtis of the Elks fought the double team as usual, from Delptaj Miska (3) and Lauren Kolak (17) (Photo by Bob Burley)

The Elks and Centennial were knotted at 1-1 when Brown scored on a power play with six minutes left, muscling the puck past a defenseman and goalie Phaylen Meyer from about eight feet.

Ahead 2-1, the Elks killed a power play late in the game, then were shorthanded again with a minute left when Jonnna Curtis was called for interference.

Centenial pulled its goalie and was skating 6-on-4, but the Elks got the puck cleared along the boards and sent it to Brown at mid-ice with nobody in front of her. Brown fired a shot from the blue line that connected for the clincher with 40  seconds left.

Jordan McLaughlin punched in the Elks’ first goal on a rebound early in the second period after the Cougars scored on a power play.

Brown and McLaughlin, a freshman, each have 10 goals, second on the team behind Curtis’ 34.

The Elks lost to Anoka 3-1 on Dec. 13 and tied the Tornadoes 1-1 on Jan. 24.

Anoka had losses to Blaine and Andover and ties against the Elks and Centennial. The Elks’ other loss was to Andover 2-0, and they tied Armstrong 2-2 right after the Anoka tie.

The Elks are seeded first in Section 7AA and will have a first-round bye Thursday. They will host the winner of Duluth vs. Cambridge-Isanti-Mora-Pine City next Saturday in the semifinals.

 

Jordan McLaughlin (left) and Centennial's Kaitlyn Armstrong chased the puck. (Photo by Bob Burley)

Chelsey Petrich's (left) attempt was thwarted by Centennial goalie Phalen Meyer. (Photo by Bob Burley)

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