Girls hockey: 4 first-period goals propel Moorhead to victory over Sartell in Section 8AA quarterfinals

Olivia Dronen had five points, including her 100th varsity point, and nine other Moorhead players found the scoresheet as the Spuds advanced to Saturday's section semifinals.

Moorhead's Ella Holm, center, celebrates a goal against Sartell/Sauk Rapids/Rice during their Section 8AA quarterfinal girls' hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

MOORHEAD — It took a little under nine minutes for the Moorhead girls hockey team to show why it's Section 8AA's No. 1 seed.

Using four first period goals, including three in the opening nine minutes, the Spuds rolled to an 8-0 victory over No. 8 seed Sartell/Sauk Rapids in Tuesday's quarterfinals at the Moorhead Sports Center.

Moorhead (18-8-1) plays No. 5 seed Brainerd/Little Falls (14-9-3) in Saturday's semifinals at 7 p.m. at the Cullen Hockey Center.

Senior defenseman Olivia Dronen sparked the flurry of offense with a five-point night. The Spuds captain tallied two goals and three assists, including her 100th career varsity point coming on her first goal of the night.

"It feels really good to accomplish that," Dronen said.


Moorhead's Olivia Dronen scores against Sartell/Sauk Rapids/Rice goaltender Morgan Dorn during their Section 8AA quarterfinal girls' hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Dronen felt even better about the big win in a game that appeared near-perfect for the Spuds. Ryan Kraft couldn't think of many negatives to take away.

"I don't think there were very many," Kraft said. "I thought we executed our game plan very, very well. We wanted to come in and play a fast, unselfish, puck-moving style and we did that for the most part."

The Spuds outshot the Sabres 56-6 and controlled play all night.

"It would have been nice to capitalize on a few of those quality opportunities we did have in the first or the second, but at the end of the day, you're doing a lot of good things when you're only giving up six shots," Kraft said. "So we feel pretty good about where we're at right now."

Junior forward Ella Holm opened the scoring just under five minutes into the game with her 15th goal of the season on a pass across the slot from junior defenseman Kate Kosobud, beating Sartell junior goaltender Morgan Dorn.

Under three minutes later, senior forward Annie Krieg made it 2-0 on her 10th of the season with assists coming from senior forward Bria Holm and sophomore forward Olivia Kortan.

A minute-and-a-half after that, the Spuds found the back of the net of again, this time Dronen assisting on freshman forward Lucey Wilson's second goal of the season.

Bria Holm added the fourth goal of the opening period at the 13 minutes, 28 seconds mark to make it 4-0 after the first 17 minutes.


Shots were 23-1 after one period, with eight different Spuds players finding the scoresheet.

Dronen was the star of the second period with two goals, including the one that clinched her her 100th point at the 8:42 mark to make it 5-0. Between Dronen stealing the show, Kortan found the back of the net for her 10th of the season.

Moorhead's Olivia Dronen celebrates a goal against Sartell/Sauk Rapids/Rice during their Section 8AA quarterfinal girls' hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Kraft said he was happy to see one of his captains have a big night after Dronen went through a minor slump earlier in the season.

"It means a lot," Kraft said. "If we can get her putting points on the board and get her scoring and feeling good about her game ... she's a big piece to our puzzle. There was a stretch there where I think she might have had one point in seven or eight games. So she was squeezing the stick a little bit, but (tonight) she found a way to put a couple in and get a couple of assists and that just bodes well for the girls in orange jerseys."

In case there were any doubts, Kosobud added a shorthanded goal late in the third period with an assist coming from Dronen to make it 8-0.

In all, 10 Spuds players stamped their names onto the scoresheet. Kortan and Kosobud finished with three points apiece, followed by Krieg, Ella Holm and Bria Holm with two-point nights. Wilson along with senior forward Elle Lebahn, sophomore forward Addison Salvevold and freshman forward Haylee Melquist each had one point.

Sophomore goaltender Taylor Kressin finished with six saves in the shutout. Dorn stopped 48 shots for the Sabres.

Moorhead went 0-for-2 on the power play while Sartell went 0-for-4.


The Sabres finish their season at 5-20-1.

Moorhead's Bria Holm closes in on a goal against Sartell/Sauk Rapids/Rice during their Section 8AA quarterfinal girls' hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Moorhead will continue its quest to return to the state tournament for the first time since 2006 by facing a Brainerd/Little Falls squad that ended their season in the Section 8AA championship game last year.

The Spuds took both regular season contests over the Warriors, most recently on Feb. 4.

"I think that's still in the back of their minds," Kraft said. "They ended our season last year and obviously we want to return the favor, so to speak. But there's three days before then and we're going to buckle down a little bit and make some adjustments from this last game. I feel good about where our game is at, where our game is heading and I feel confident moving forward."

"I think we're ready," Dronen said. "We want to end their season like they ended ours last year."

FIRST PERIOD: 1, MH, E. Holm (Kosobud, Lebahn), 4:54. 2, MH, Krieg (B. Holm, Kortan), 7:26. 3, MH, Wilson (Dronen), 8:56. 4, MH, B. Holm (Krieg, Kortan), 13:28.

SECOND PERIOD: 5, MH, Dronen (Kosobud), 8:42. 6, MH, Kortan (E. Holm, Dronen), 10:52. 7, MH, Dronen (Salvevold, Melquist) 14:50.

THIRD PERIOD: 8, MH, Kosobud (Dronen), 12:49.


SAVES: SSR, Dorn 19-25-4—48. MH, Krissen 1-4-1—6.

Ryan Spitza joined The Forum in December 2021 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Marquette, Mich., a city of 20,000 on the southern shore of Lake Superior. He majored in multimedia journalism and minored in public relations at Northern Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in May 2019. While attending college, Spitza gained real-world experience covering high school and college athletics for both The Mining Journal and The North Wind.

Spitza can be reached at 701-451-5613 or Follow him on Twitter @ryspitza.
What To Read Next
Get Local