Adapted Floor Hockey: Warriors back on top with OT state final win

The Brainerd Warriors faced Anoka-Hennepin in the state semifinals and then Dakota United in the state championship game Saturday, March 18.

An adapted floor hockey player takes a shot
Brainerd's Landon Brotherton takes a shot at the goal Saturday, March 18, 2023, during state adapted floor hockey tournament at Bloomington Jefferson High School.
Bill Johnson / Picture Day Pro!

BLOOMINGTON — Aiden Olsen’s goal at 1:10 of the overtime frame put the state title crown back in possession of the Brainerd Warriors who captured the state championship with a 4-3 victory over Dakota United Saturday, March 18, at Bloomington Jefferson High School.

“The puck had cleared the zone and Hunter (Zilka) came out and just threw it back into the zone and Aiden went to put it in and the puck came off of his stick weird,” Warriors head coach Todd Person said. “It bounced funny and their goalie was unable to handle the bounce. It was an awkward thing, but the bounce went our way. It was really nice to have that bounce our way for a change.”

It was Aiden Olsen’s goal at 13:50 of the third period that forced the extra frame.

Olsen’s game-winning goal was assisted by Zilka, a senior, while his game-tying goal was assisted by Brainerd’s other senior Cadence Atwater.

Brainerd floor hockey coaches react to a game-winning goal
Brainerd head coach Todd Person, left, and assistant coach Brian Stark react to the game-winning goal scored by Aiden Olsen during the championship game of the state adapted floor hockey tournament Saturday, March 18, 2023, at Bloomington Jefferson High School.
Bill Johnson / Picture Day Pro!

“Dakota (United) called a timeout with about four minutes left in the game and that just seemed to be the rest that we needed,” Person said. “We just spent the entire time in their zone. Aiden was off on the right side and was able to throw one in and it was just such a relief.


“Andrew (Kargel) kept us in the game the whole time back in goal, which was great because they had some opportunities to go up by two and he stopped them all. That was huge.”

It was Atwater who put the North No. 1 seeded Warriors on the board first with a goal assisted by Caleb Keran at 2:10 of the second period.

A floor hockey player celebrates a goal.
Brainerd Cadence Atwater celebrates after she scores the first goal for the Brainerd Warriors in the adapted floor hockey State Championship against Dakota United Saturday, March 18, 2023, at Bloomington Jefferson High School.
Bill Johnson / Picture Day Pro!

Owen Olsen, off assists from Atwater and Landon Brotherton, handed Brainerd a 2-0 lead before Dakota United tallied three straight goals for a 3-2 lead.

That’s when Aiden Olsen tied the game and then won it.

Kargel finished with 13 saves as the Warriors outshot Dakota United 24-16 to finish the season unbeaten with an 11-0 record and another state title.

“Our Friday night game was on one of the lower gyms and we filled two of the three bleachers with Brainerd fans,” Person said. “Then Saturday, we had even more there. The fact that the cheer team came down just added to the whole experience. It was wonderful, especially when that goal goes in and the place erupts. It was a lot of fun.”

The Brainerd Warriors fans cheer on their team
The Brainerd Warriors fans cheer on their team Saturday, March 18, 2023, during state adapted floor hockey tournament at Bloomington Jefferson High School.
Bill Johnson / Picture Day Pro!

It was Dakota United that snapped Brainerd’s 65-game winning streak in last year’s state title game and prevented the Warriors from winning state for a fourth straight time.

Out of the last five state tournaments, not counting the two seasons that were lost to COVID-19, the Warriors have won four state titles.


Kargel needed just three saves to send Brainerd into the state finals. That’s because Brainerd peppered the Anoka-Hennepin Mustangs with 43 shots on net compared to four in a 9-1 semifinal victory Saturday, March 18.

Owen Olsen registered four goals and two assists and Landon Brotherton tallied two goals and three assists for the Warriors.

Hunter Zilka, Caleb Keran and Aiden Ulness also tallied for Brainerd.

“We got a little lucky and Anoka got a little unlucky as one of their players was sick and couldn’t play,’ Person said. “That really allowed us to play all of our players and we kind of platooned our groups to give everyone playing time and rest our starters.”

Earning spots on the Wells Fargo All-Tournament team were Atwater, Kargel and Owen Olsen.


Dakota United 0 2 1 0

Brainerd 0 2 1 1

Second period: Brd-Cadene Atwater (Caleb Keran) 2:10; Brd-Owen Olsen (Atwater, Landon Brotherton) 5:45; DU-Fiona Stizmann (Cayden Needham 6:29; DU-Needham 7:24

Third period: DU-Reece Martin (Needham) 8:04; Brd-Aiden Olsen (Atwater) 13:50

Overtime: Brd-Aiden Olsen (Hunter Zilka) 1:10

Shots on goal: Brd 24, DU 16

Goalies: Brd-Andrew Kargel (13 saves); DU-Dominik Albus (20 saves)

State Semifinals

Anoka-Hennepin 0 0 1 -- 1

Brainerd 3 4 2 --9

First period: Brd-Owen Olsen (Aiden Olsen) 2;01; Brd-Owen Olsen (Landon Brotherton) 11:09; Brd-Hunter Zilka (Owen Olsen) 12:03

Second period: Brd-Brotherton (Owen Olsen) 2:37; Brd-Owen Olsen (Brotherton) 3:22, Brd-Brotherton (Zilka) 8:08; Brd-Caleb Keran (Cadence Atwater) 14:24

Third period: Brd-Owen Olsen (Khloe VanNorman) 13:25; Brd-Aiden Ulness (Brotherton) 111:30; AH-Sophia Reither 14:50

Shots on goal: Brd 43, A-H 4

Goalies: Brd-Andrew Kargel (3 saves); AH-Kenny Hickman (34 saves)

Overall: Brd 11-0.

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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