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Floor Hockey: Top-seeded Warriors looking for the 3-peat

Blaise Edinger works the puck up the floor for the Brainerd Warriors adapted floor hockey team in a 15-3 win over Mounds View Feb. 28 at Riverside Elementary in Brainerd. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Todd Person isn't sure his players are aware of the significance of the number 41.

That's how many games the Brainerd Warriors, the two-time defending state champions, have won in a row.

"I'm not really sure they're paying a whole lot of attention to that," the Warrior head coach said. "We're just kind of going one game at a time. Our goal was to get that No. 1 seed again going into the tournament and we did that. Our next goal after that Friday night game will be hopefully to handle the Saturday game without needing to play people a huge number of minutes and be able to use some of that depth that we've got."

The North No. 1 seeded Warriors open the state tournament 5 p.m. Friday, March 15 against Minneapolis South at Bloomington Jefferson High School.

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State Floor Hockey Tournament

  • Who: North No. 1 seeded Brainerd vs. South No. 4 seed Minneapolis South
  • When: 5 p.m. Friday, March 15
  • Where: Bloomington Jefferson High School
  • At stake: Brainerd is the two-time defending state champions and owns a 41-game winning streak

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Brainerd has reached double-figure goals in all but its first two games of the season.

Those games were a 9-3 win over South No. 2 seeded Dakota United and a 4-2 win over South No. 1 seeded Rochester.

The only two teams Brainerd did not play during the regular season who are in the state tournament are St. Paul Humboldt, which is the South No. 3 seeded team, and its state quarterfinal opponent Minneapolis South.

"Typically, in the past, that Friday game has not been a nerve-wracking game," Person said. "Especially with that No. 1 seed because we're playing a team that has had to play into the tournament. Over the last six or seven years the Northern Conference has always been a stronger conference than the south.

"Even with that said, we need to make sure we get the jump on them right away and make sure we don't let things get close and we'll be fine."

Brainerd's recent success is due to an explosive offense. In its final eight regular season games, the Warriors averaged 13.75 goals a game.

"A big part of that is when Matt Allord is out on the floor and how well he sees the floor and moves and being in the right spots and also makes the passes that makes everybody else better," Person said. "Tre'Von Otey has come on of late. He's started to work harder in practice and I've seen a lot of good things out of him lately."

Allord leads the Warriors with 21 points and 29 assists. Blaise Edinger follows with 18 goals and 13 assists. Otey has 14 goals, including a five-goal game Feb. 21 against Robbinsdale, and Kadyn Robinson is also in double figures with 11 goals and 12 assists.

"We do have people who can put the puck in the net," Person said. "Blaise Edinger and even Maddox Canon, back at that defensive spot, has been stepping over that blue line and putting a few more shots on goal. He's had success with that.

"Spencer Thompson is in his second year and scored a hat trick in our last game so that shows how much he's improved over the last few months."

Defensively Brainerd is stout as well. Brainerd collected three shutout victories and averaged 2.6 goals against per game in its 10 victories.

The Warriors have rotated Tate Boelter and Edinger in goal. Boelter has faced 94 shots and made 72 saves for a 77 save percentage. Edinger has faced 28 shots and secured 25 saves for an 89 save percentage.

"We've been working a lot with Tate Boelter in the goal position over the last week and a half in practice just knowing he's probably going to have be back there because we'll need Blaise out on the floor a lot more just for his defense and his scoring potential," Person said.

Rochester captured the South Division with a 5-0 record. Dakota United finished division play with a 3-1 record. Minneapolis and St. Paul Humboldt tied with 3-3 records.

Brainerd won the North Division with a 6-0 record. Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka was second with a 6-1 division record. Maple Grove placed third at 3-3 and Anoka-Hennepin went 1-5

In last year's state tournament, Brainerd outscored its three opponents 36-7

"Being there before is definitely a benefit and being that we've been in the championship game the last two years the kids know what it takes to get there and win that," Person said. "That early season Rochester Tournament really helps because it's a similar situation. Even those new players get an opportunity to see what it's going to be like to have to play that many times."

State Floor Hockey PI Division

Friday, March 15

Bloomington Jefferson

North No. 1 seed Brainerd vs South No. 4 seed Minneapolis South, 5 p.m.

South No. 2 seed Dakota United vs. North No. 3 seed Maple Grove, 5 p.m.

North No. 2 seed Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka vs. South No. 3 seed St. Paul Humboldt, 6:30 p.m.

South No. 1 seed Rochester vs. North No. 4 seed Anoka-Hennepin, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 16

Bloomington Jefferson

Consolation semifinals 9 a.m.

Consolation semifinals 9 a.m.

Championship semifinals 10:30 a.m.

Championship semifinals 10:30 a.m.

Consolation championship 12:15 p.m.

Third-Place 2:15 p.m.

Championship 2:30 p.m.

Jeremy Millsop

My career at the Brainerd Dispatch began May 11, 1999 after graduating from North Dakota State University. My areas of emphasis includes local high school sports, Central Lakes College, the lakes area golf mecca and once a year I dabble in the NHRA when the Lucas Oil Nationals come to Brainerd International Raceway.

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