Brainerd Warriors adapted floor hockey coach Bruce Thompson has a few concerns as his team prepares to play in the state tournament Friday.
First, the Warriors haven't played since March 9 when they handled Burnsville 7-1 in a play-in game to qualify for state.
"We've had some good practices since then," Thompson said. "It was beneficial to have the (play-in) game. A lot of players played in the playoff game. Hopefully, we've also got some hockey boys and girls coming to play us."
Another concern is the fact Brainerd (8-5) doesn't play South Division schools. The Warriors are the No. 3 seed in the North and the Raiders (9-2) are No. 2 in the South.
Rochester captured consolation honors in 2009 and was champion in 2003. This season the Raiders have scored 63 goals. Freshman Conor Jones was the top scorer for Rochester during the regular season with 25 goals and five assists. Junior goalie Caleb Kallis was 9-2 and has a 0.848 save percentage.
Who: No. 3 seed Brainerd vs. South No. 2 Rochester
When: At 5 p.m. Friday
Where: Bloomington Jefferson High School
Saturday's schedule: Semifinals 10:30 a.m.; consolation semifinals 9 a.m.; fifth place 12:15 p.m.; third place 2:15 p.m.; championship 2:30 p.m.
"Early in the season Robbinsdale went down there and played Dakota United, Rochester and South Suburban and won the whole thing," Thompson said. "I think it will be a pretty even game as long as we play our game, a passing type game, move the puck on the floor and play some defense.
"Rochester is always a good team and they're always pretty aggressive."
The Warriors, who placed fourth last season, have been led in scoring by Wes Blomberg (27 goals, 4 assists, 31 points), Brock Saatzer (5-17-22), Austin Annable (9-4-13), Brennen Myers (5-7-12), Tyler Theien (6-5-11), Jacob Kretzmann (2-3-5) and Richard Volkmuth (1-2-3). Nate Engelmann and Anna Wahl each have one assist. Wahl and Harlee Annable are chair goalies.
"I'm more concerned about how our team plays, what we do on the floor," Thompson said. "We know Rochester will bring a good team and play a good game but defense is what we have to do well.
"I'm still concerned about our passing, I haven't been happy with it all year. If we pass and move up the floor and play some defense we will compete well. We have to work as a team. We've struggled with that a little bit. We work on that on a daily basis. We have to do the little things right, like being a good teammate."
Wes Blomberg, Brock Saatzer, Tyler Theien, Austin Annable, Jacob Kretzmann, Nate Engelmann, Harlee Annable, Brennen Myers, Anna Wahl, Ned Aga, Richard Volkmuth
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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