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Girls hockey: Willmar Cardinals wind up 6th at state tournament

Feb. 25—ST. PAUL — The Willmar girls hockey wrapped up the 2023-24 season with a sixth-place finish at the state Class A tournament Saturday.

Proctor/Hermantown, the tournament's fifth seed, beat the Cardinals 5-2 in the consolation championship at the Tria Rink.

Proctor/Hermantown skated to a 4-0 lead early in the second period before Willmar got goals from Avery Olson and Lauren Eilers. Olson's goal was assisted by Lily Jorgenson at 6:04. Eilers' was unassisted at 9:59.

Proctor/Hermantown sealed the deal with a goal by Ella Rothe at 2:39 of the third period.

Willmar was out-shot, 39-14.

After the Class A championship game at Xcel Energy Center, Willmar's Rebecca Dawson was named the Class A Herb Brooks Award winner.

"The Herb Brooks Award is given to the most qualified hockey player in the state tournament who strongly represents the values, characteristics and traits that defined Herb Books," according to the Herb Brooks Foundation website. "This prestigious award will commemorate unending influence Herb Brooks had on the sport of hockey in Minnesota and throughout the world."

Players are nominated by their head coach. Recipients must have, according to the website, a "true love for hockey — a real passion (and a) commitment and loyalty to school team and community (with a) willingness to sacrifice for the team."

Recipients also must have "integrity, courage of (her) convictions, a goal-oriented approach, sharp focus and strong competitive drive, an excellent work ethic, (a) willingness to accept challenges, mental toughness, strong hockey skills and strong leadership qualities," according to the website.

The Class A championship was won by Warroad. The Warriors won their third state Class A title by beating the Dodge County Wildcats 5-2 in the final at Xcel Energy Center.

Orono earned third place by beating the Academy of Holy Angels 3-2.