Elk River/Zimmerman slips past Roseau in Section 8AA semifinal upset
The Rams went into the semifinal matchup ranked No. 8 in the state of Minnesota and holding the No. 2 seed in Section 8AA while the Elks claimed the No. 3 seed.
ROSEAU, Minn. — In a huge postseason upset, Elk River/Zimmerman came up big at the right time for a 4-3 win over Class AA No. 8 Roseau in a Section 8AA semifinal.
The Rams were 21-4-1 coming into the matchup and held the No. 2 seed in the section tournament. Elk River/Zimmerman, the section's No. 3 seed, came into the game with an 18-7-1 record.
The first period of play in the semifinal game was closely contested, but ultimately the Rams would take an early 1-0 lead with a goal from Gavin Gunderson at 1:10 of the opening frame.
The Elks started to shift momentum their way in the second period. Elk River/Zimmerman's Marcus Fritel scored on the power play 4:31 into the middle period to tie things up at a goal apiece, and then added another just over two minutes later to give the underdogs a 2-1 lead.
Roseau's misfortune would continue with Elk River scoring two more goals to open up the third period. The Rams mounted a rally in the final minutes of play, with two goals from senior Thor Byfuglien (St. Cloud State commit) leading the way, but it wasn't enough to overcome a three-goal deficit.
By a final score of 4-3, Elk River/Zimmerman completed the upset and slipped past Roseau to advance to the Section 8AA final, one win away from its first state tournament berth since 2005.
Roseau outshot the Elks 35-19, but Elk River/Zimmerman goaltender Sam Stockman stood tall to earn the victory, stopping 32 of 35 shots he faced. Marcus Fritel completed his hat trick in the third period with a shorthanded goal that would ultimately be the game-winner.
The Elks will meet top-seeded, Class AA No. 4 Moorhead on Wednesday at the Municipal Athletic Complex in St. Cloud for the Section 8AA title and a spot in the Class AA State Tournament. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.