Hockey: Elk girls in section finals rematch with Grand Rapids-Greenway

The Elk River-Zimmerman girls hockey team will have a section finals rematch with the Grand Rapids/Greenway Lightning on Thursday evening in Grand Rapids, 7 p.m.

A year ago, the Elks beat the Lightning 4-1 for the Section 7AA title and went on to place fifth in the state tournament.

The Elks beat the Lightning 3-2 earlier this year in Grand Rapids. Jonna Curtis had two goals and Abby Kratzke one as the Elks took a 3-0 lead. The Lightning closed the gap on two goals by  Molly Illkainen.

Ilkainen, whose brother is a 6-8 freshman basketball star on a team with a good chance to reach “state,” is the Lightning’s big threat. She had the game-winner in an overtime win over Cloquet-Esko-Carleton in the section semifinals Saturday.

The Elks, trying for their sixth state trip, and fourth state trip in five years, are the No. 1 seed and GRC is No. 2, but the section finals site was pre-determined to be Grand Rapids. GRC is seeking its third state trip.

The No. 7 ranked Elks are 20-3-3 and  8-0-2 in their last 10 games. The No. 19 Lightning are 17-7-3, and 7-0-1 in their last eight. The Elks will be missing one starting defenseman due to a boarding penalty during their semifinal win over Duluth.