Explosive South Suburban poses a challenge for the Brainerd Warriors when they play the Flyers in the quarterfinals of the state tournament Friday at Bloomington Jefferson High School.
The Flyers, who captured the consolation championship last year, are the No. 2 seed in the South Division. Brainerd will have to contain players like senior Karen Kreidler, who has scored 220 career goals after netting 51 this season. Senior Nicholas Nieson is also a scoring threat, adding 14 goals and 11 assists. Nieson is the program’s career assists leader with 77.
Senior Christopher Reichel is the top goalie for the Flyers, who scored 111 goals while restricting opponents to 74.
Warriors coach Todd Person said Kreidler missed much of last season because of illness.
“I guess she’s quite the player,” he said.
“We definitely have to focus on her and hopefully shut her down and see what the rest of their team has from that point,” Person added. If the Warriors, seeded third in the North Division, win they likely will play the North’s top seed, Robbinsdale/Hopkins, Mound/Westonka. Robbinsdale beat the Warriors 4-1 and 5-3 in the regular season.
“I’ve been really pleased with how the kids have progressed,” Persons said. “When we played Robbinsdale the last game of the regular season — they haven’t lost in three years — we knew it would be a tough game. We played Robbinsdale as well as anyone has all year. We were tied with them when we played them at Armstrong, up to the last two minutes of the game.
“I think our team has proven we can play at that level. We just need to make sure everyone’s doing what they need to do to make it all work.”
Austin Annable makes the Warriors’ offense tick with his 16 goals and five assists. Brennen Myers has contributed 10 goals and five assists, Devin Annable 8 and 6 and Jacob Kretzman 3 and 2.
“We rely on Austin from his defense position to score a lot,” Person said. “He has the shot to be able to do that. When we really play our best is when we’ve got maybe one or two goals from Austin and the rest of the team steps up like they did last week, when we got hat tricks from Austin and Devin and Dalton Schreier scored a goal.”
Austin Annable also anchors Brainerd’s defense, along with goalie Anna Wahl, who has made 119 saves.
“Defense, that’s definitely the strongest part of our team,” Person said. “Austin’s been able to score as easily as he can from his defensive position. He’s also been able to shut other teams down. Anna made 119 saves while we are close to 300 shots on goal for the year. That’s quite a disparity. Austin’s the main reason for that. His brother, Harlee Annable, does a good job in a chair defense position, as does Anna in goal as well.”
Anna Wahl, G, 12
Brock Saatzer, W, 9
Richard Volkmuth, W, 12
Jacob Kretzmann, W, 12
Nate Engelmann, W, 11
Austin Annable, D, 12
Malia Lauer, W, 12
Sam Perttula, W, 8
Ray Borg, C, 8
Dalton Schreier, C, 8
Devin Annable, C, 8
Harlee Annable, D, 10
Brennen Myers, W, 12