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AUSTIN EDITION -- Austin girls No. 6 in section seedings

Packers will play host to No. 11 Marshall in opener

By Guy N. Limbeck

glimbeck@postbulletin.com

Austin is the No. 6 seed in the 16-team Class A, Section One girls hockey tournament.

The Packers (10-11) will play host to No. 11 Marshall (6-14-2) on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Riverside Arena.

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"That's where we figured we'd be," Austin coach Denny Bray said. "We're happy where we're at. We get a home game."

The winner of the Austin-Marshall game will take on the winner of the No. 3 New Ulm vs. No. 14 Northfield game in the second round on Feb. 9 at the highest seed's ice.

Farmington is the No. 1 seed in the section. The Tigers are rated seventh in the state in Class A and beat Austin 9-1 earlier in the season. No. 2 Albert Lea has a pair of victories over the Packers, 4-2 and 9-4. Austin split a pair of games with No. 4 Mankato East and did not play New Ulm.

"We could have been right there with the fourth seed if we would have played better the last two weeks," Bray said.

The Packers have dropped seven of their last eight games. But Bray said the team is still excited about the section tournament.

"When we're on our game, we can play pretty good," Bray said. "But when we're not, we can struggle."

Bray said a key for the Packers in section play will be to hustle, attack the offensive zone and get scoring chances off of rebounds.

Sophomore Courtney Hughes leads the Packers in scoring with 20 goals and seven assists for 27 points. Senior Melissa Dickhut has 16 goals and six assists. Seventh-grader Kristin Faber has seven goals and eight assists. Sophomore Jessica Petersen has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists), and senior Lisa Snyder has 12 (five goals, seven assists).

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The Packers did not play Marshall this season. Marshall plays in the Southwest Conference, along with Fairmont. Fairmont beat Marshall during the season, and the Packers topped Fairmont 4-2.

"We're not going to take Marshall lightly," Bray said. "We're not taking anyone lightly any more."

The Packers end the regular season with a game at Mankato West at 2 p.m. Saturday before starting section play.

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