Much of the talk surrounding the fifth-seeded Brainerd Warriors team has been "when."
When things start to click watch out.
Warrior head coach Jim Archibald believes that's true and hopes "when" is 7 p.m. Tuesday at No. 4 Buffalo.
The Warriors (10-15-0) started the season 2-7. Since then they've gone 8-8. They finished 0-3, however, with losses to Roseau, Sartell and Duluth East.
"Our last two or three games have not gone as well as we wanted, but we've dealt with injuries and health," said Archibald. "We're not going to deal with excuses. We still have to lace our skates and still have to play the game and play every shift.
"I do know that there are a couple of teams that are afraid to play us. The reason is they know that when we are at the top of our game that we can beat anybody."
Section 8, Class 2A
Team Section Overall
Moorhead 5-0-1 12-9-3
Northern Lakes 2-0-0 18-4-3
St. Cloud Tech 3-1-2 14-9-2
Buffalo 3-2-0 14-11-0
Monticello 3-2-0 12-13-1
Roseau 3-2-1 13-9-3
Brainerd 1-5-0 10-15-0
River Lakes 1-4-0 9-16-1
Becker/Big Lake 0-5-0 2-21-0
Buffalo enters the postseason 14-11, but losers of its last five. The Bison are led by Zach Blaisdell's 32 points and Alec Ackmann's 31 points.
"Buffalo has a good record this year," said Archibald. "It's going to be a tough game. If we go in there with the proper attitude and proper focus I am fully confident that we will be heading to St. Cloud Saturday."
Josh Archibald leads Brainerd scoring with 22 points. Brett Jenkins has 19 and Matt Pohlkamp 16.
In net, Reid Mimmack owns a 3.19 goals-against average and 90.0 save percentage with two shutouts.
The winner will face the No. 1 Moorhead/No. 8 River Lakes winner 1 p.m. Saturday.
In the other half of the bracket, the No. 6 seeded Northern Lakes Lightning (18-4-3) will face No. 3 St. Cloud Tech (14-9-2) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. Cloud State University.
The Lightning are led by Cody Chambers' 36 points (11 goals, 25 assists) and Charlie Hollinbeck's 34 points (11-23). Ryan Donovan tallied 30 points and Sam Johnson was NL's most prolific goal-scorer with 22 goals for 28 points.
"When you look at our scoring, most of our goals came against weaker teams," said Lightning head coach Shawn Chambers. "We got 40 shots against Prairie Centre in our last game, but our quality scoring chances aren't as high as the shots we get."
Northern Lakes played just four teams with winning records - Red Lake Falls (12-11-1), Morris-Benson (11-10-1), Moose Lake (19-4-1) and Park Rapids (14-8-3). In eight games against those teams it finished 4-3-1. The Lightning's remaining 17 games were played against opponents with a winning percentage of 28 percent.
"I'd love to have a couple of higher-quality teams play us," said Chambers. "We've had a good record the last two years, but it's hard picking up games against good competition. Hopefully if we can keep putting up good records we'll get those games. Monticello has asked to play us and hopefully we can get a couple more of those tougher teams on our schedule."
The Tech Tigers are led by Gus Miller and his 36 points and eight power-play goals. Tech was 3-1-2 against section opponents. Two section wins came against No. 5 seed Brainerd and the other was against River Lakes. The Tigers tied top-seeded Moorhead 2-2 Feb. 12 and tied second-seeded Roseau 3-3 Feb. 7. The lone section loss was a 6-0 defeat by Roseau.
"I went and watched them play Sauk Rapids and they have speedy forwards, which could give our defense on that big ice some trouble," Shawn Chambers said.
"Our defensive zone is going to be huge for us. If we can get back to defensive hockey and then go on the offensive when the opportunity presents itself we'll be OK."
Pequot goalie Trey Flesch owns a 92.3 save percentage and 1.76 goals against average. He collected five shutouts.
The winner will play the No. 2 Roseau/No. 7 Monticello winner Saturday.
Section 8, Class 2A
Name Goals Points
Tyler Landman, Ros 16 45
Adam Knochenmus, Ros 26 43
Shane Ohmdal, Ros 13 40
Evan Hesse, Mont 17 37
Cody Chambers, NL 11 36
Gus Miller, Tech 11 36
Charlie Hollinbeck, NL 11 34
Zach Blaisdell, Buf 14 32
Alec Ackmann, Buf 17 31
Ryan Donovan, NL 12 30
Power play goals
Gus Miller, Tech 8
Evan Hesse, Mont 7
Adam Knochenmus, Ros 6
Adam Knochenmus, Ros 3
Nine players tied with 2
(Minimum minutes 400.0)
Name GA avg. Save %
Trey Flesch, NL 1.76 92.3
Michael Bitzer, Moor 1.9 91.0
Reid Mimmack, Brd 3.19 90.9
Trey Flesch, NL 1242:30
Reid Mimmack, Brd 1215:10
Tyler Sieben, RL 1164:00
Trey Flesch, NL 5
Ethan Kvidt, Ros 3
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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