The Northfield Raiders boys hockey team saw their season come to a crashing halt today in a 3-1 loss to the St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders at Mariucci Arena on the University of Minnesota Campus.

The Raiders lost a heartbreaking game Wednesday night in overtime 2-1 to Orono at Xcel Energy Center.

Less than 12 hours after the conclusion of that game Northfield had to play in the Consolation Round.

I watched the Wednesday night contest through the end.  It was a very exciting game with both teams skating full speed.  Both teams were physical, yet clean hits were made during the game.

The players were probably very tired, but it's hard to go to sleep right away after such an emotional contest.  After a News Conference and showering they probably didn't get back to their hotel until after midnight.

It simply does not make sense to me to have the Consolation games played at 10 a.m. and Noon the next day when you could have games start at say 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. or 3:00 and 5:00 Thursday afternoon for Class A teams and Class AA Consolation Friday afternoon at those times.

The third place and Consolation Championships are already scheduled for Saturday.

After all it is a state tournament and if giving the athletes the best possible experience is the goal then let's do it.

This reminded me of the marathon 15 inning state baseball game played in heat in St. Cloud in 2021 between Randolph and New York Mills in the semifinals with the Rockets having to turn right around and play a consolation game against Springfield.

They had no chance of winning the game.  Springfield had been clobbered by Hayfield so they had a long rest between games and did not have to use a lot of pitchers.

Multiple players for Randolph could not play due to cramping issues.  In fact they had to have an athlete throw in the state third place game who had not been a pitcher since 8th grade.

You use up pitching when you play a 15 inning game.  Tournament officials should have realized this and come up with a better plan.

If it's all about the athletes as the MSHSL says then allow them proper rest between games so they can be at their best.

I felt bad for Northfield having to do the quick turnaround today.

In today's game goalie, Keaton Walock, senior, was very good again stopping 29 shots. (the final goal for Cathedral was a empty net one.)

He had an incredible 48 saves the previous night.

Brayden Olsen of Randolph (they co-op in hockey with Northfield) scored the Raiders only goal in today's game.  A power play goal 12:08 of third period to pull the team to within a goal.

Olsen was assisted by Bridger Riley.

Northfield had a 30 to 27 advantage in faceoffs won against the Crusaders and the Raiders had 27 shots on goal.

The Raiders season ended with an impressive 23-7 record.  They were the Big Nine Conference Champions, Section 1A Champions.

No reason to hang their heads.

Class A Semifinals Friday will be Hermantown (25-2-1) going up against Mahtomedi (21-8) and Warroad (27-0-1) tangling with Orono (24-5).

Games are 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Class AA plays their Semifinals 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Friday.

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