STILLWATER -- Eighth-grader Mitch Hodgman, goalie for the Brainerd Warriors adapted floor hockey team, picked the perfect day to shine.
Hodgman made 15 saves, including one in which the puck went under two of his teammates' wheelchairs in front of the net, to lead the Warriors to a 5-0 win over the Dakota United Hawks in the consolation championship game of the state tournament Saturday at Stillwater High School.
The shutout was the first of the season for Hodgman, who admitted that he "got lucky" on some of his saves.
Warriors coach Bruce Thompson said some of Hodgman's saves were "just amazing."
Chris Nelson of Brainerd (right) battled with a Dakota United player for control of the puck in their state tournament consolation championship game.
"He's got great reactions and he did just a heck of a job in goal," Thompson said. "He saved us a lot, a lot of goals that could have been."
Hawks junior center Bryan Anderson thought Hodgman, who was named to the all-tournament team, was awesome.
"I don't think I've ever seen a kid with that quick of reflexes," Anderson said.
While Hodgman was covering the net like a screen, teammates Chris Nelson and Doug Ream took over offensively. Nelson had a hat trick and Ream scored twice, one on a sizzling 30-foot slap shot from the blue line.
Earlier Saturday, Nelson had four goals and Ream one in Brainerd's 6-1 consolation semifinal win over Minneapolis South.
Thompson thought the Warriors played up to their ability during the tournament.
"I'll remember the effort more than anything," he said.
Brainerd 5, Dakota United 0
Ream, a junior wing, opened the scoring with a slap shot from the left side that streaked in the net just under the crossbar.
Ream credited Nelson with a "really nice pass."
Four minutes later, Nelson scored his first goal, also from the blue line, and another top-shelfer.
In the second period, Nelson scored two more goals, both unassisted.
In the third period, the Hawks thought they had scored when a shot went through Hodgman's 5-hole. But it was ruled that one of the Hawks had a foot in the crease, negating the score.
Earlier this season, Brainerd had a closer game against the Hawks, winning 4-2. The teams also have met in several state tournaments.
Hawks coach Brett Sadek said there is a rivalry with Brainerd and his players don't like losing to the Warriors.
"They know the only way they can kind of slow (Brainerd) down a little bit is to bump into them every once and a while," he said. "It's nothing that I told them to do. They are competitive just like any other athlete against probably the best players in the league."
Thompson said every time the Warriors play the Hawks, it makes for a good game but it's aggressive floor hockey.
"It's not easy to play Dakota," he said. "We get beat up playing them. We get knocked down, we get beat up."
Dakota 0 0 0 -- 0
Brainerd 2 2 1 -- 5
First period -- 1-B Doug Ream (Chris Nelson) 1:13; 2-B Nelson (unassisted) 5:03
Second period -- 3-B Nelson (unassisted) 5:31; 4-B Nelson (unassisted) 12:39; B-Ream (Chris Nelson) 11:00
Shots on goal -- B 21, D 22
Goalies -- Mitch Hodgman (B) (15 saves); Cory Marklevits, Mike Hansen (DU) (2 saves)
Power-play opportunities -- Brainerd 0-2, DU 0-4.
Final record -- Brainerd 11-5.
Brainerd 6, Minneapolis South 1
Nelson played in pain after suffering a shoulder injury in the Warriors' 3-2 quarterfinal loss Friday when a player in a wheelchair crashed into him.
But you wouldn't have known it watching him play as he dived shoulder first into the boards and scrapped for the puck on his knees.
Nelson opened the scoring with two quick goals, within 51 seconds, in the first period.
The second period saw Ream and junior center Chris Jordan each score. Six minutes before he scored, Ream shot a rocket that hit the goalie's chest.
More than 30 seconds into the third period, Ream collected his second goal. He flung it in after a Nelson shot hit the Tigers' goalie in the chest.
Following the next faceoff, Nelson scored Brainerd's final goal, unassisted.
Hawks coach Tammy Cowan said Nelson and Jordan are phenomenal players.
"We can't do much about them," she said. "I hope they graduate soon."
Thompson was pleased how the Warriors played, considering their heart-breaking 3-2 loss the night before.
"Everybody had some shots on goal and a lot of kids played," he said. "That was a fun way to start our morning."
Minneapolis South 0 0 1 -- 1
Brainerd 2 2 2 -- 6
First period -- 1-B Chris Nelson (Eric Goodew) 11:07; 2-B Nelson (unassisted) 11:58.
Second period -- 3-B Doug Ream (Nelson) 8:15; 4-B Chris Jordan (Nelson, Ream) 14:20
Third period -- 5-B Ream (Nelson, Jordan) :32; 6-B Nelson (Ream, Amanda Albertson) :58 7-M Clancy Smith (Michelle Koland, Stephen Trice) 11:15
Shots on goal -- B 7, MS 6
Goalies -- Mitch Hodgman (B) 1-2-3 6 saves, Peter Linden (MS) 1-2-3 6 saves.
Power-play opportunities -- Brainerd 0-1, South 0-0
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.