That's what adapted floor hockey is about. Seeing smiles on the faces of students who, because of a physical impairment, would not have an opportunity to be involved in an athletic activity.
Smiles were abundant Monday after the Brainerd Warriors blanked the Wayzata-Minnetonka Lakers 8-0 in a Northern Conference game at Riverside Elementary School.
The Warriors received a boost from a crowd of about 200 fans, many players and coaches from other Brainerd High School teams. Their presence didn't go unnoticed by the floor hockey players.
Amanda Albertson scored four goals
"The fan support was great," Warriors coach Bruce Thompson said. "I know (Principal Josh) Fordyce encouraged a lot of people to come, which was great. It was nice to see some of the coaches here, some of the players and some of the students I have in class. It was fun to see that they're here to support other team's players."
Amanda Albertson and Nathan Puchalla had productive afternoons. Albertson snapped in four goals and had an assist. Puchalla had a hat trick and two assists.
"Amanda had a good floor game," Thompson said. "She's really seeing the net. They were stacking the chairs in front. They had a good defensive scheme going on.
"Amanda's got a quick shot. She's a nice player. Being a senior we expect her to take some opportunities, create some opportunities, and she did.
"Nathan had his usual game but we did pull him back to like a walker (defenseman) and have him do some passing, give other kids some floor time. That was good for him."
Nathan Puchalla scored three goals
Mary Sebasky collected four assists for the Warriors, who outshot Wayzata-Minnetonka 27-4. Tyler Theien had a goal and two assists. Sarina Moore had two assists and Jacob Kretzmann one.
The victory improved Brainerd to 3-0-0 while the Lakers slipped to 0-4-0.
"They're a young team," Thompson said, "but that didn't mean their kids didn't play hard. You saw them out here playing and working. A lot of their kids I didn't recognize from last year. They had a couple kids last year who were pretty good players but I didn't see them out there today.
"It was a good game for our kids to play, and hopefully their kids got something out of it and benefited."
Wayzata-Minnetonka 0 0 0 - 0
Warriors 8, Wayzata-Minnetonka 0
The key: Amanda Albertson scored four goals and Nathan Puchalla three as Brainerd outshot the Lakers 27-4
Overall: W-M 0-4-0, Brd 3-0-0
Next: Brainerd at Anoka 5 p.m. Thursday.
Brainerd 2 2 4 - 8
First period: Brd-Nathan Puchalla (Tyler Theien, Mary Sebasky) 1:23; Brd-Puchalla (Amanda Albertson, Sarina Moore) 9:10
Second period: Brd-Albertson (Puchalla, Theien) 9:57; Brd-Albertson (Sebasky) 13:10
Third period: Brd-Albertson (Puchalla, Sebasky) 1:37; Brd-Puchalla (Sebasky) 2:30; Brd-Theien (Jacob Kretzmann, Moore) 5:40; Brd-Albertson, 9:35
Shots on goal: W-M 0-2-2-4, Brd 11-7-9-27
Goalies: W-M, Nathan Walsh, Brd, Joe Casselman
Mike Bialka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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