Warroad heads back to title game, setting up a coaches' battle with Orono

The Warriors will look to defend their Class A title on Saturday after they earn a hard-fought 4-1 win over South St. Paul in the semifinals

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Warroad forward Kate Johnson (16) scores on South St. Paul goaltender Delaney Norman (37) in the third period Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

ST. PAUL — Defending state champion Warroad is headed back to the Class A state championship game after earning a 4-1 victory over South St. Paul on Friday in the Minnesota Class A girls semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center.

Warroad's Kate Johnson, who is bound for Bemidji State, scored two goals in the third period as the Warriors pulled away and will face Orono for the championship on Saturday.

It will pit two good friends against each other. Orono's head coach Larry Olimb actually grew up in Warroad so there will be plenty of good storylines to come this weekend.

"We grew up a block apart, pretty good buddies. He's got his team playing well, I'm happy for them," said Warroad coach David Marvin on what it'll be like to coach against Olimb in the championship game.

South St. Paul made things interesting as they scored early in the third period on a power-play goal from standout defender Lily Pachl to cut the Warroad lead to 2-1.


"You can't let that seep into your game," Marvin said. "It was a close game, they defended really well ... I wouldn't say we were at our best."

Talya Hendrickson (Bemidji State) got the scoring started early in the first period as she sniped a puck past Packer netminder Delaney Norman to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead.

Senior Lexi Kirkeby (Assumption) doubled the lead on the power play in the second period as she picked up a rebound in front of the net and shot to score.

"They're an outstanding team, the whole state of Minnesota knows, A or AA, they're one of the best teams and they showed it today, they were a really good quality team," said South St. Paul head coach Dave Palmquist.

"It's all you could ask for, the girls always play hard and this girl right here [Lily Pachl], you can just see the heart that she has and she just wants to win so bad, just tremendous effort and just great Packer hockey. Just so proud of her and the team," he said.

The Warriors face Orono for the championship at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

South St. Paul will play for third-place in Class A against Proctor/Hermantown on Saturday morning.

Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament coverage including game recaps, photos, brackets, schedules and more from The Rink Live

First period scoring — 1. WAR, Talya Hendrickson (Kate Johnson, Rylee Bartz) 2:38
Penalties — SSP, Eva Beck (tripping) 14:05


Second period scoring — 2. WAR, Lexi Kirkeby (Hendrickson, Abby Chamernick) 9:52 (pp)
Penalties — SSP, Sarah Wincentsen (hooking) 8:01

Third period scoring — 1. SSP, Lily Pachl (Bailey Vesper) 2:30 (pp); 3. WAR, Johnson (Rylee Bartz, Hendrickson) 8:34; 4. WAR, Johnson (Hendrickson, Chamernick) 12:58
Penalties — WAR, Madilyn Skogman (roughing) 2:09; SSP, Alida Ahern (hooking) 13:15

Goalie saves — SSP, Delaney Norman 7-11-12—30 (4GA); WAR, Kate Stephens 5-3-2—10 (1GA)

SOG — WAR, 8-12-14—34; SSP, 5-3-3—11

Penalties-minutes — WAR, 1-2; SSP, 3-6
Power-play goals-opportunities — WAR, 1-3; SSP, 1-1

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Warroad players gather on the ice to celebrate their win against South St. Paul Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth and high school hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies.
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