The opening night of the Minnesota boys hockey section playoffs saw three area winners and filled in the scheduled for other teams waiting to play on Thursday night.

Section 7AA

The Greyhounds of Duluth East defended their home ice at the Heritage Sports Center Tuesday night, with senior Nick Altmann earning a hat trick, scoring a goal in each period of play to give the Hounds a 3-0 win over Andover. Gunnar Howg held strong between the pipes, blocking 17 shots to keep Andover off the board. East moves on to play Grand Rapids, who won 2-1 over Forest Lake Tuesday night. The game is scheduled for 2 pm at Amsoil Arena on Saturday (2/21).

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton found the net very early, with Koby Bender netting the first of 9 total goals for the Lumberjacks. Bender would go on to earn a hat trick in the game as the Jacks steamrolled St. Michael-Albertville 9-4. CEC will go on to face section top seed Elk River, who beat St. Francis Tuesday night 10-1. The match between the Lumberjacks and Elks will be at noon on Saturday (2/21) at Amsoil.

Section 5A

Proctor blew past North Branch, skating to a 10-0 win over North Branch in first round action. Jon Aase and Jake Malec each scored 3 goals, making up most of the scoring for the Rails' big shutout victory. Proctor hits the road Thursday night (2/19), traveling to Chisago Lakes Ice Arena in Lindstrom to take on Chisago Lakes. The puck drops at 7 pm in this quarterfinal.

Section 7A

Hermantown and Duluth Marshall had their eyes on Tuesday night's action, watching to see what teams would win to move on to play the Hilltoppers and Hawks.

North Shore skated past Ely in an 11-5 win, and will advance to a quarterfinal match against Duluth Marshall at MARS Lakeview Arena on Thursday night at 7:30. Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl earned a 5-1 victory over International Falls, advancing to play Hermantown on Thursday night (2/19). Action from Hermantown Arena can be heard on ESPN 560 WEBC and streaming online, with coverage starting just before the puck drops at 7:30.