Warriors Athlete of Week: Left wing delivers at crunch time
Brock Saatzer Sport: Adapted floor hockey Position: Left wing Year: Senior Age: 18 Height: 5-10 Career highlight: Scoring overtime goals to beat Anoka-Hennepin twice this season Favorite class: Psychology Favorite food: Pizza Favorite TV show: "P...
Sport: Adapted floor hockey
Position: Left wing
Career highlight: Scoring overtime goals to beat Anoka-Hennepin twice this season
Favorite class: Psychology
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite TV show: "Psych"
Hobbies: Playing floor hockey
Future plans: Attend Bemidji State University, major in business and marketing
Favorite athlete: Zach Parise of Minnesota Wild
Parents: Todd and Denise Saatzer
Brock Saatzer has a knack for delivering when the game's on the line.
In two overtime games against highly regarded Anoka-Hennepin, the Brainerd senior snapped in game-winning goals to beat the Mustangs 7-6 in the season opener Jan. 22 and 6-5 Feb. 10.
Warriors coach Todd Person said it probably helps that Saatzer's a left-hand shot.
"It's a little bit different than other people are used to seeing," Person said. "He comes down his left wing spot and he's so good at hitting the upper corner of the net with Cody (Vleck) making a pass across the floor to Brock. A lot of times he's just hitting spots. Both of his goals in the overtime wins were pretty much identical plays."
Saatzer is the Warriors' leading scorer with 16 goals and 10 assists for 26 points. He's on the first line with Vleck at right wing and Jake Heinlen at center.
"Cody is a good passer," Saatzer said. "Jake does a good job keeping the puck in our zone."
What does Saatzer bring to the table?
"I just bring a good attitude, and leadership, I think," he said.
Person said Saatzer is moving as well as he's seen him in his four years as the Warriors' head coach. That may be due to surgeries on one of his legs.
"My first year he had a boot on one of his legs and he really struggled with that. It was almost like a walking cast," Person said. "He had another surgery that didn't correct things the way his family had hoped it would. Then I think he had another surgery the following year after that.
"This year he's as quick as I've ever seen him, which has helped him out."
Person said Saatzer struggled with his passing accuracy early in the season, but that aspect of his game has improved.
"He's just being a little bit more aware," Person said. "He's starting to keep his head up more and not passing to a spot. Cody is the other wing on his line. He and Cody play so well together. Cody has seven goals and 12 assists to complement Brock. The two of them really work well back and forth."
The Warriors won their first eight games this season before falling to four-time defending state champion Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka 4-3 on Feb. 19. That's the first time since the program joined the Minnesota State High School in 1996 that Brainerd won its first eight games.
Saatzer said the team has forgotten about the loss.
"We're still a team," he said. "I know it doesn't really bother us in the sense of how we work as a team."
This season marks Saatzer's third as a team captain.
"I just try and help everyone have a good attitude," he said. "We like each other, but it's not like you're the only person on the team. Everyone is on the team."
Person said Saatzer leads not only during games.
"He takes care of all kinds of stuff at the start of practice," Person said. "He organizes things. We've got some other drills we work on with newer players. He takes the starters and goes off and organizes games and drills with them. Even in game situations he's always a good calming factor on the floor."
Other notable efforts:
• Kylee Heurung, girls basketball, scored 22 points & grabbed 13 rebounds vs. Willmar, added 21 points and eight rebounds vs. Apollo and 21 points and seven rebounds vs. Little Falls.
• Andy Schlosser & Braden Kramer, wrestling, qualified for the Class 3A state tournament.
• Katy Johnson, girls basketball, scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds vs. Little Falls.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .