They won the last nine games of the regular season.
They tied for the fifth Central Lakes Conference boys' hockey title in school history.
Their 18 victories were the second-most in program history.
But those accomplishments didn't mean much to the Brainerd Warriors after one of their most successful seasons came to a crashing conclusion with a 7-0 loss to Hibbing in the Section 7AA quarterfinals Thursday.
This Warriors wanted to prove to the section and state that Brainerd hockey deserves respect.
"It felt good to do so well," defenseman Nate Kub said as he struggled to speak following the defeat. "It's like nobody thought we would be that good. But we all thought we would be this good."
Although no Warrior was using it as an excuse it was obvious they missed center Brian Reese, who didn't play the last seven games after suffering a lacerated kidney, and defenseman Tom Zaleski, who was serving a 4-game suspension for his second cross-checking from behind penalty of the season.
"That was a major part of it," Kub said of the Warriors' loss Thursday.
Program on upswing
Head coach Ty Eigner and assistant Toby Kvalevog reversed the direction of the Warriors' program in their first season. With much of the same personnel last season Brainerd went 10-12-1.
"I can't call it a success," Eigner said of this season, "but I'm certainly very proud of what these young men accomplished. We want this thing to go up. We want this to take off, be a program that people look at and say, 'They're doing a lot of good things in Brainerd.' What this team did will go a long way for the future success of this program.
"The program is in much better shape than it was at this time last year. I think it will only get better. The level of expectations has been raised.
"You can tell by looking at these kids that this hurts. They cared. It was a priority for them. It meant something to them. If that can continue to snowball and more people feel that way there's no reason we can't get better. My hope is this is the beginning of something very special."
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