Lady All-Stars set to begin play at state tournament

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHAOS PHOTOGRAPHY Huron’s Ashley Busch shoots the puck during a game against Yankton on Feb. 6 at Bergman Arena. In the second photo, Huron’s Alexis Priest skates with the puck during the game against Yankton.

WATERTOWN — The Huron Lady All-Stars will be looking to build on some late-season momentum as they head into the Varsity State Girls’ Hockey Tournament, which begins today at Maas Ice Arena in Watertown.

“Our goal for the tournament is to play on Sunday,” Huron coach Michael Ready said. “We have fallen just short the last few seasons and would like to be able to play for a trophy on Sunday.”

The Lady All-Stars are seeded seventh with a 5-11 record entering this year’s state tournament. They will face off against second-seeded Sioux Falls, which is 13-2, in the opening round at 2:30 p.m., today.

“It’s going to be a tough game for us. Sioux Falls won the championship last year and their team is solid again this year,” Ready said.

“We struggled the last time we played them, but are hoping some of the changes we have made with lines and positions will pay off for us.”

The two teams squared off twice during the first five games of the regular season with each team coming away with a win.

Huron recorded an 8-6 win at Bergman Arena and Sioux Falls returned the favor with a 13-1 win at the Scheel’s Iceplex n Sioux Falls.

“When we beat Sioux Falls earlier in the year they were missing many of their key players, who were playing in another tournament,” Ready said.

After picking up three wins during the first six games of the season, the Lady All-Stars went winless until winning two of the last three games. The final win was a 4-3 victory to avenge an earlier loss to Watertown.

“The wins have been a good confidence booster for the girls,” Ready said. “When we played Watertown our first game of the season, we lost 9-3.

“The girls have been working hard and it was nice to end the season with a win against a solid Watertown team,” he said.

Aberdeen is the top seed for this year’s tournament with a 15-0 record. The Lady Cougars will face No. 8 Oahe, which is 3-10-1, in the opening round at 7:30 p.m., today.

Fourth-seeded Sioux Center (9-6) will play No. 5 Mitchell (8-7) at 5 p.m., today.

Third-seeded Brookings (10-4-1) will kick off the slate of four games today with a matchup against No. 6 Watertown (5-8-2) at noon.

The consolation semifinals are slated for 11:30 a.m., and 2 p.m. Saturday, with the semifinals to follow at 4:30 and 7 p.m.

The consolation championship is set for 9 a.m. Sunday, with the third-place game set for 11: 30 a.m., followed by the championship game at 2i p.m.

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