Boys’ hockey takes third in state
The BSM boys’ hockey team made a historic trip to the state tournament this past weekend, finishing in 3rd place with its win over Roseau. With BSM’s first ever trip to the AA State Tournament, record-setting crowds, and, in Coach Ken Pauly’s words, “the best team in BSM’s 50-year history,” the tournament was truly one to remember.
Quarter-Final vs. Woodbury
“That was the game I was most nervous for,” said Coach Pauly, “When you lose that first game, you are out of the tournament –– you are forgotten. I knew we were the better team. I had no doubt about that, but none of our guys had been to State before, and over half of that Woodbury team had been.”
Senior standout Matt Berglund started the state tournament the same way he ended the section final game against Minnetonka: with a goal. “I was kind of nervous going into the game because I didn’t really know what to expect with the crowds and such,” he said.
Another goal was added in the second period by senior John Holmers, giving the Red Knights a 2-0 lead. BSM controlled the pace of the game for the rest of the period, keeping Woodbury scoreless.
Woodbury finally scored one in the third, but it proved useless as senior John Grupa scored his third shorthanded goal of the season on an empty net 16:22 into the third. Senior Blake Appelhof added one more to the score as he shot a pass from Berglund at the buzzer, making the final score 4-1.
Semi-Final vs. Edina
The Red Knights had to play the number two seed in the tournament on Friday night as they faced off against Edina at 6 p.m. BSM upset Edina earlier this year in the Schwan’s Cup when they beat the Hornets 2-1, and Edina was obviously seeking some revenge.
The Hornets took the lead halfway into the first period putting the first point on the board. BSM fought back eight minutes later when senior John Holmers, assisted by senior Tom Knauff, knocked in the puck from the side of the crease to find the back of the net. Edina was quick to regain the lead, however, and scored just 16 seconds later as BSM fans were still celebrating the tying goal.
Edina and BSM each added one to their goal totals in the second period, with Steve Zierke scoring an unassisted goal at 8:16 into the second, making the score 3-2.
The third period revealed a battle that would not end in those 17 minutes, but instead carry the game into overtime. Edina was first to score, with a shot from the blue line that found its way by BSM goalie Jacob Meyers. BSM came back undeterred and brought the score back within one point less than a minute later with a goal by senior captain Chris Student. Two minutes later, Berglund scored his 38th goal of the season tying up the game at 4-4 where it would ultimatley bring the game into overtime.
BSM fought off a Hornet power play early on in the period but could not hold off their ultimate vicotory. At 5:48 into overtime, Edina player Marshall Everson snuck the puck around the corner of the net for the win.
The game was a back-and-forth battle between two incredibly competitive teams. “I had more hockey people (scouts and coaches) after the game saying the best team did not win that game,” said Coach Pauly.
The Edina-BSM semi-final game was most attended hockey game –– at the high school, college, or professional level –– in Minnesota state history, with 19,559 attending.
“It was really the game of the tournament. Even though we didn’t win the championship, we played in the game that really defined the tournament…it’s the game that people are talking about, the one that will really be remembered,” said Coach Pauly.
3rd Place vs. Roseau
“After initial wave of deep disappointment, we all looked at what had happened,” said Coach Pauly. “When we got back to the hotel, it started to sink in just what sort of event that was. We were proud of how we played; we put it all out there, played well, and just didn’t get the bounce. Our disappointment was replaced with satisfaction and everyone was ready for Roseau.”
The third place game began with tight competition between the top-seeded Rams and the Red Knights, with neither side scoring until the second period.
BSM sophomore Will Nelson was the first to score as he knocked in the puck from a huddle in front of the net. Junior goalie Mike Shibrowski had 6 saves in the second period, adding to the 10 he had in the first.
“We’ve been playing three goalies all year. Meyers had been in for a while because when a goalie has a hot hand, you just don’t take him out. We put [Shibrowski] in goal for this game for one, because he deserved it, and two, because I thought he would be a fresh emotional lift for the team,” said Coach Pauly.
The Red Knights took full command in the third period, capitalizing on power plays and a discouraged Roseau team as BSM won 5-1. “Our guys found another gear in the third period,” said Coach Pauly.
After the Rams’ controversial goal early in the third, the game was tied up. BSM senior Niklas Almstrom then scored off a pass from Holmers from behind the net. From there, the Red Knights scored three more times, with Berglund adding two and junior Pat Borer adding another. The Rams spent a total of 24 minutes in the penalty box, only helping the Red Knight win.
“It wasn’t exactly the ending we wanted, but it was a pretty good one. That game was really a reward for the team –– to end their season with a win in front of their friends and family in the Xcel surrounded by such great teammates…it was a great way to go. Coming back from that Edina game and finishing off the game the way they did…it was really a test of character, and they all passed,” said Coach Pauly.
Like Pauly, Berglund really valued the win and the way the team and its twelve seniors got to end the year. “It was a really nice way to end the season,” he said. “It was especially nice for all of us seniors because we got to go out with a win for our last game of our high school careers.”
Coach Pauly couldn’t have asked for a better return to the program he once coached for 14 years. “It hasn’t sunk in quite yet what an incredible season it was; from the win against Edina in the Schwan’s tournament to the heartbreaking loss to Minnetonka earlier this year to the big section game where we beat them…you just can’t script it. To be able to come back and be able to coach the greatest team in BSM history…who could ask for more?”
Marie Renckens, staff writer