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Minnesota Sports Briefs: Girls state hockey tourney underway

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Girls State High School Hockey Tournament is underway in St. Paul.

Yesterday, the Class A bracket got going with their quarterfinals. Red Wing, Blake, Warroad and South St. Paul all got wins and will advance to the semifinal round on Friday.

Now today, it's the double A's turn. Starting at 11 a.m. four more games will take over Xcel Energy Center in the AA Girls State High School Hockey Tournament. Minnetonka comes in as the unanimous #1 team in the state and their first test is at 6 p.m. against Irondale. Eden Prairie starts things off in the first game against Forest Lake, Hill Murray faces Eagan at 1 p.m. and the late game tonight has Lakeville North squaring off against North Wright County.


The University of Minnesota women's basketball team makes the trip to Columbus, Ohio tonight for a 5 p.m. rematch with Ohio State. Minnesota comes into the contest 15-11 overall and 4-8 in the Big 10 after falling to Northwestern on Sunday at Williams Arena. Ohio State is 14-11 and also 4-8 in conference play; they're coming in off a loss at Nebraska last week. All-time, the Gopher women have won just once in Columbus and own a 1-25 mark in their barn.


The Minnesota Wild are back on the ice tonight as they begin a two game trip against the Northwest division. Tonight they'll be in Edmonton for an 8:30 p.m. game against the Oilers while Saturday night they'll be in Calgary. The Wild are coming in off a 3-2 come from behind win on Sunday over the Detroit Red Wings. After trailing 2-0 early in the second period the Wild ripped off three straight goals and hang on for the win. That moves the Wild to 3-1-1 in their last five games. However, the Wild have just one win on the road this season.


The WCHA named their Defensive Player of the Week and St. Cloud State's Audrey Hammer skates away with the honor. The sophomore defenseman from Wyoming, MN scored the game-winning shootout goal following a 2-2 overtime tie last Friday against Minnesota State and then scored a pair the following night to help SCSU beat MSU 2-0.


The first set of regional men's basketball rankings were released yesterday by the NCAA and the NSIC has the four top teams in the NCAA Central Region. Winona State is on top with their 24-5 record followed by Minnesota State, Augustana and St Cloud State. Southwest Minnesota State and Upper Iowa are also ranked in the top 10. The top eight teams in the final rankings will earn a spot in the NCAA Central Region Tournament. The NCAA Men's Basketball Selection Show is set for March 10th.


The first set of regional women's basketball rankings were released as well and the NSIC has three teams in the top 10. Concordia-St. Paul and Minnesota State took the third and fourth spots while Augustana came in sixth.


The National Lacrosse League announced yesterday that Minnesota Swarm transition player Kiel Matisz has been named the NLL Rookie of the Week. In the Swarm's 17-16 loss to Calgary this past Saturday, Matisz scored a pair of power play goals and dished out three assists. Matisz was drafted by Minnesota with the #3 overall pick in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft. Through six games this season Matisz ranks third on the Swarm in scoring with 22 points and 31 loose balls. It's the second time he's captured the honor.