Ace Hardware, Tradition Mortgage set for Championship Showdown

by Pete Waggoner

The first ever “Celly Cup” Championship game is bound to be an exciting one.

Following an upset win from Ace Hardware and a hard fought victory for second-seeded Tradition, tomorrow’s championship game is officially set between the two teams. 

#4 Ace Hardware had a quick turnaround for their semifinal matchup, having just played in Friday’s play-in game against the winless Pulltab Sports. But that didn’t seem to slow down the big red machine, who put together an impressive performance against #1 Tria. 

Ace scored four goals in the first half, including three in a stretch of roughly eight minutes. That would push the lead to 4-1 at halftime. 

Tria did their best to cut into the lead but they could only do so much. Ohio State forward Sloane Matthews, who was a late addition to the Ace Hardware roster, finished with a hat trick Saturday. Tria suffered just their second loss of the season, this time in elimination fashion. 

“It’s been really fun playing this weekend”, Matthews said. “I got the text asking if I wanted to come play this weekend and I said ‘yeah, sure”.  

Ace Hardware has gone from the play-in to the championship game in a stretch of less than 48 hours. The underdogs will look to complete a memorable playoff run tomorrow. 

In semifinal number two, former Blaine standout goaltender and incoming Minnesota State freshman Hailey Hansen was the star of the show, backstopping her team to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Lake Cowgirl. 

Hansen stopped 36 of 37 shots and played all 60 minutes for Tradition Mortgage, who came from behind to advance to tomorrow’s championship game. 

“This has been my second time playing the full game and it’s been great to see more ice”, Hansen said. “No matter what, I’m just grateful to be here”. 

Following an early goal from Lake Cowgirl, Crystalyn Hengler and Jane Kuehl provided the offense and two goals for Tradition Mortgage. 

The win sets up a clash between Tradition Mortgage and Ace Hardware in tomorrow’s championship game at 10:40 AM.