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Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Hockey (G)
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Alexandria
South St. Paul

1A Quarterfinals: Cardinals Don't Monkey Around

By Ryan Phelps
Xcel Energy Center - St. Paul, MN

The MN Army National Guard selects our Two Stars of the Game: Nikki Ecklund, Alexandria and Toni Simones, South St. Paul

The Minnesota Army National Guard selects our Two Stars of the Game:

 

Nikki Ecklund

Alexandria

2 Assists, 4 shots, +1

 

Toni Simones

South St. Paul

1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots, +1

 

For more information on The Guards go to http://www.1800goguard.com/

 
Alexandria 5
South St. Paul 2
Click here for Mitch Loch's postgame interview
 

There’s no room in hockey for stuffed animals.  Unless, of course, you’re Alexandria and you are referring to their pet monkey.  Don’t worry Twins fans, it’s not the “Rally Monkey” we all love to hate.  This is the “Get the monkey off our backs” monkey.  And it finally happened.  After four straight first round exits, the Cardinals escaped the State Quarterfinals Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center with a 5-2 win over South St. Paul.

 

“We show the girls that between periods and it actually makes an annoying noise,” explained head coach Mitch Loch.  “We talked about getting that monkey off our backs and that’s just step one of our overall goal here this week.”

 

The Cardinals started working on step one early as Nikki Ecklund assisted on two goals; Stacey Paulzine scored at 4:16 of the 1st period and Allyson Nielsen made it 2-0 at 12:44.  Add Kathryn DelZoppo’s tally at 13:57 of the second and it looked like Alexandria was set for round two.  But the Packers had other plans.

 

After Toni Simones pulled South St. Paul within two goals with a PPG at 5:23 of the second, the Packers really turned it on in the third.  They out-shot the Cardinals 18-5 in the final frame, but goalie Danielle Justice was up to the task.

 

“They did a nice job of trying to fight until the end,” admitted Loch.  “Our girls stepped up to the challenge and got the job done.”

 

They did so by adding two more goals and holding off South St. Paul, who in 8 trips to state have claimed four titles.  But this year, at least in this game, the monkey was pulling for the Cardinals.

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