Rochester Lourdes made the eight-hour bus trip to Warroad last winter and nearly upset the then-No. 1-ranked Warriors on their home ice.
Lourdes suffered a narrow 2-1 loss to Warroad that day, but the confidence the Eagles gained boosted them to a Section 1A championship and the program's first-ever trip to the Class A girls hockey state tournament.
Warroad will return the favor this week. The No. 3-ranked Warriors will make the long bus ride to play No. 9 Lourdes at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Graham Arena. Warroad will finish the long road trip with a 5 p.m. game against Dodge County on Saturday at Dodge County Ice Arena in Kasson. A challenging weekend for Lourdes continues Saturday at No. 5-ranked South St. Paul.
Warroad (14-3-1 overall) already holds a 6-1 win against Dodge County this season; The Warriors topped the Wildcats on Dec. 28 at Warroad on the first day of the Warriors' holiday invitational tournament.
Warroad enters this week on a 10-game winning streak and averages a state-best 6.5 goals per game. Lourdes, which had its three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday by Stillwater, the No. 7 team in Class AA, averages 4.6 goals per game and allows 2.6.
It's possible Lourdes and Warroad could meet more than once this season, if both teams qualify for the state tournament.
• Kasson-Mantorville triangular (5 p.m., Thursday): Nine wrestlers who are ranked in Class AA will be on the mats as K-M hosts Pine Island Byron/Lourdes in a Hiawatha Valley League triangular. Those ranked wrestlers include: P.I.'s Luke Williams (No. 5, 106 pounds); Byron's Maxwell Petersen (No. 2, 120) and Mitchel Petersen (No. 2, 132); and K-M's Logan Vaughan (No. 5, 132), Tanner Paulson (No. 8, 145), Carlos Ruffo (No. 1, 152), Kail Wynia (No. 5, 160), Patrick Kennedy (No. 1, 182) and Anthony Moe-Tucker (No. 7, 285).
• Albert Lea at Mayo (7 p.m., Friday): While Albert Lea may not be the power it was a decade ago, the Tigers are still a force to be reckoned with. Mayo enters the week ahead of Albert Lea in the Big Nine Conference standings. The Spartans are 4-0 in conference duals, tied atop the Big Nine with Faribault and Northfield. Albert Lea is 3-1 in the conference.
BOYS SWIMMING AND DIVING
• Section 1AA True Team Meet (10 a.m., Saturday): Rochester's high school teams do battle with host Lakeville South, as well as Lakeville North, Owatonna, Northfield, Farmington and Hastings in a meet that relies on team success to be victorious. The winner advances to the True Team state meet.
• Rochester Invitational (5 p.m., Thursday): The Rochester boys and girls high school ski teams host their home invitational, at Welch Mountain Ski Area, 12 days in advance of the Big Nine Conference Meet, which will also be held at Welch Mountain. Thursday's meet will feature the Rochester teams and conference rivals Northfield, Mankato East and Mankato West.
• Big Nine Conference championship (Noon, Saturday): With the Section 1 meets just three weeks away, nine dance teams will meet at Austin High School on Saturday to determine the conference champion. Albert Lea, Austin, Faribault, Northfield, Owatonna, Rochester Century, Rochester John Marshall, Rochester Mayo and Winona will compete for the conference crown.
• Mayo vs. Red Wing, at Mankato West: Rochester Mayo sits fourth in the Big Nine Conference with a 7-3 mark (9-4 overall). On tap for the Spartans this week: Matchups with two teams ahead of them. Mayo hosts Red Wing (9-1, 13-1), the No. 3-ranked team in Class AAA, on Thursday. Mayo then goes to Mankato West (8-2, 10-4) on Saturday. The Spartans suffered a 71-58 loss at Red Wing on Dec. 12, the fourth game of the season. Saturday will mark their only matchup this year against West.