Northfield (7-4) finished its Big 9 conference season with a 9-7 victory against Mankato (8-4) on Thursday night, before opening a non-conference filled final week of the regular season Monday with a 14-7 setback at Hastings (7-5).

In the victory against Mankato, the Raiders jumped out to a 4-3 halftime lead thanks to a pair of goals from Spencer Klotz and a goal apiece via Matthew Bell and Dylan Dietz. Northfield stretched that advantage to 8-4 by the end of the third quarter, before holding off a Mankato fourth-quarter charge in the fourth quarter.

The win completes a two-game season-sweep of Mankato and all but assures Northfield's spot ahead of Mankato once Section 1 seeds are handed out.

A final week of the season filled with possible resume-boosting wins started with that defeat against Hastings, which led 4-2 at the end of the first quarter and 8-3 at halftime. Klotz, Matt DeBuse and Nick Orosco all scored in the first half for the Raiders, which received goals in the second half from Isak Johnson, DeBuse and Bell.

Northfield played again Tuesday night at Minneapolis (4-6), before traveling to Mahtomedi (7-5) on Friday night for the final game of the regular season. After Monday's loss, Northfield ranks second in Section 1 in terms of's Quality Results Formula behind Owatonna (11-2) and just ahead of Lakeville North (7-5).

Lakeville North is likely to jump both of the Big 9's top teams for the No. 1 seed thanks to its South Suburban Conference pedigree. The win against Mankato likely means Northfield falls no lower than the No. 5 seed in the nine-team section, which means a first-round road game is in store. It's still not out of the question the Raiders grab that No. 4 seed, however, by slipping in ahead of one of Lakeville South (3-8) or Farmington (6-7).

Reach Regional Sports Editor Michael Hughes at 645-1106 or follow him on Twitter @APGSoMnHughes. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved. 

Sports Editor for the Northfield News. Also a California native looking for tips on surviving the winter and an Indiana University grad on the quest for a good breaded pork tenderloin.

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