The Prior Lake girls hockey team has a long playoff road ahead.
The Lakers earned the No. 8 seed in Section 2AA and will open the quarterfinals at top-seeded Eden Prairie Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. Prior Lake heads into the postseason losing its last four South Suburban Conference games and eight of its last nine contests.
Prior Lake (4-21 overall) ended the regular season with a 4-1 loss at Apple Valley Feb. 2. Prior Lake also fell 5-1 at Shakopee Jan. 31, finishing 2-16 in the SSC.
Fifth-ranked Eden Prairie (15-6-2) beat the Lakers 8-2 back on Dec. 1. The Eagles also beat Prior Lake in the playoffs last year, winning 8-2 in the semifinals.
Since becoming a Class 2A program at the start of the 2003-04 season, Prior Lake has faced Eden Prairie 10 times in the regular season and in the playoffs and have lost all 10 contests by a combined margin of 69-8.
Meanwhile, Minnetonka (11-12-1) earned the No. 2 seed in Section 2AA and will face seventh-seeded New Prague (13-8-3) in the quarterfinals, while third-seeded Chaska/Chanhassen (16-7-2) will take on sixth-seeded Bloomington Jefferson (12-10-2) and fourth-seeded Shakopee (14-10-1) will take on fifth-seeded Holy Family (16-6-3).
The semifinals are Feb. 12 at Braemar Ice Arena in Edina at 6 and 8 p.m. The title game is Feb. 15 at Braemar at 7 p.m. Eden Prairie is the defending champion. For complete brackets, go to www.mshsl.org.
In the loss at Apple Valley, Prior Lake was down 4-0 after two frames and couldn't recover. Senior Heather Olinger scored the Lakers' lone goal, tallying unassisted in the third period.
Junior Brianna Elbon finished with 32 saves in goal for Prior Lake. She made 34 stops in the loss to Shakopee.
Sophomore Payton Bloedow scored for the Lakers, tallying unassisted at the 12:03 mark of the second period to cut the Sabers' lead to 3-1.