They did it again.
The Minnetonka High School girls hockey team (24-4) has won the Section 6AA Championship for the third year in a row.
The Skippers are the two-time defending state champions (2011 and 2012) and start an unprecedented campaign toward a third state title. Minnetonka is top-ranked in the tournament, followed by Eden Prairie, Hill-Murray and Lakeville North. North Wright County, Irondale, Eagan and Forest Lake round out the competition.
Last year, the Skippers beat Roseville in the championship game, and they beat Edina in 2011. Neither Roseville nor Edina qualified for this year's state tournament.
The Skippers open state tournament play on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. vs. Irondale High School (19-8-1) at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
State tournament tickets will be sold at the Pagel Activity Center starting on Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. and will be sold until noon on Feb. 21.
Tickets are available at $17 for adults and $11 for students. Each ticket is good for one session each tournament day.
MHS students wishing to ride a student fan bus may purchase a ride to and from the Xcel Energy Center for $5. A minimum of 30 students is needed for each fan bus. An announcement will be made at the high school on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. if a fan bus has achieved the minimum needed.
If Minnetonka advances in the state tournament, tickets will be on sale Friday, Feb. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to noon. Each day a fan bus will be available for $5 to Minnetonka students for championship bracket games only.
The Skippers advanced to the state tournament in dramatic fashion. Benilde-St. Margaret had built a commanding two goal lead, which they held until late in the third period, when the Skippers came roaring back to win.
It was an emotional, heartfelt effort that propelled the Skippers to a 3-2 victory.