It was a breakout week for Josie Kramer.
The senior wing for the Brainerd/Little Falls Warriors erupted for a four-point night in the Warriors’ 5-0 Central Lakes Conference win over Fergus Falls Dec. 10.
She followed that up with an assist and a goal against the Sartell/Sauk Rapids Stormin’ Sabres Thursday, Dec. 12. Her goal happened to be a game-winning overtime tally that helped BLF remain unbeaten in the conference as well as in Section 8-2A to that point.
“We were kind of struggling the first and second period,” Kramer said. “We couldn’t get much going. I think that in the third period, we finally turned it on. The whole third period and then in overtime, Sartell didn’t even get one shot on net.
“When it came to overtime, I was just like ‘we have to get this done.’ This was a section game and one of our goals was to win all of our section games this season. That was the main goal for me. I just wanted to go out in overtime and work my absolute hardest and try to create a goal so we could win the game.”
Kramer said she raced onto the ice and teammate Sophie Robinson hit her with a perfect pass. Kramer put the puck on net and hoped for the best. And her best was good enough.
Kramer knocked in another goal in the Warriors 3-2 loss to Roseau Friday, Dec. 13. That gave her three goals and 10 assists for the season. Her 13 points are second on the Warriors.
“I think first and foremost, all the habits are right and they have been all season long,” BLF head coach Jack Freeman said. “Now she’s getting rewarded for it. All year long, she shows up. She has a fantastic attitude. She is a leader on our team. She is always encouraging her teammates. She’s pushing her teammates. The way she practices, her energy has been phenomenal. It shows in games with the way she forechecks and backchecks, but it’s every drill in practice, too. She just competes her heart out.”
In 31 games last year, Kramer finished with four goals and 13 assists. She said her goal this season -- being her final year -- is to create the same type of winning atmosphere as last year’s state runner-up team enjoyed.
“I just thought, we have a big group of seniors this year, and there is a lot of leadership so if we have the same mindset as last year and the same want to get as far as we did, I think we’ll be really successful,” Kramer said. “Myself, I just wanted to come out and give it my all, knowing it’s going to be my last year playing hockey. I value my teammates a lot and I know that if we put our mind to it and work harder than we did last year that we’re going to be really successful.”
Of Kramer’s 10 assists, five have come on Gabbie Smith goals. It should be no surprise as Kramer and Smith formed an explosive tandem on the soccer pitch as well during their careers.
Last fall, Smith led the Warriors with 26 goals and 41 points. Kramer was second with nine goals and 21 points.
“I just think playing in two sports with Gabbie, I’m able to know her super well as a player and person,” Kramer said. “I’ve played with a lot of people in my life, but none of them have really compared to Gabbie. We see the field and the ice about the same. We know where each other is at all times. I don’t even have to hear her voice calling for the puck. I just know she’s there. I’m able to find her or she finds me. That’s paid off. Both soccer and hockey coaches have realized that and they’ve put us together a lot knowing we work really well with each other.”
Freeman said Kramer’s speed and high-pace of play is a strength as well as Kramer’s relentless pressure on both offense and defense. Kramer said she’s just entered the season with the mindset to work as hard as she can every practice and in every game.
While he knows Kramer has a ton of natural ability, he couldn’t stop raving about her work ethic.
“I think there is some natural ability to create offense, but I think it’s something Josie has really worked at,” Freeman said. “It’s something that she puts time into every single day. She’s working at it nonstop. Even when the puck wasn’t going into the net for her early in the season the right habits where there. The day-to-day process was there and now she’s being rewarded for it.
“I do think the offensive instincts she developed in soccer carried over to hockey do help. There is definitely a lot you can apply from sport to sport.”
With Brynne Folden at the other wing on the line of Kramer and Smith, Kramer credited her big week of scoring to her teammates.
“I just have to give credit to my other linemates and my defense as well because they’re able to set me up with good breakout passes and good chances for me to get some offense,” Kramer said.
Other notable performances
Jacob Drietz, boys hockey, finished with two goals and an assist against Fergus Falls.
Owen Davis, boys basketball, finished with 23 points and five rebounds against Sauk Rapids.
Mason Kuepers, boys swimming, won the 200- and 500-yard freestyles and was on two winning relays against St. Cloud Apollo.
Cade Rosenwald, boys swimming, won the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly and was on two winning relays against St. Cloud Apollo.
Izzy Olson, won the bars and floor routines in a dual with Alexandria.
Madison Kalenberg, Alpine skiing, won the Cook County Invite in 1:03.72.
Kyle Eschenbacher, wrestling, captured the 132-pound Paul Bunyan Invite with a 4-0 record. Finished 2-1 at the Warrior Quadrangular.
Sarah Nesheim and Gina Wasniewski, Nordic skiing, teamed up to win the relay portion of the Bemidji Invite.
Lilliana Schaeffer, Nordic skiing, won the 5K portion of the Bemidji Invite.
Sport: Girls Hockey
Position: Right wing
Career highlight: Beating Andover in 2019 Class 2A state hockey semifinals to advance to state championship
Other sports: Soccer, lacrosse
Grade-point average: 3.5
Favorite class: Human Biology
Favorite food: Sushi
Favorite movie: “Happy Gilmore”
Favorite TV show: Food Network
Favorite website or app: Instagram
Favorite restaurant: Benihana
Future plans: Study nursing at Montana State University
Favorite athlete: Alex Ovechkin
Parents: Sean and Kelly Kramer
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.