Veteran leadership is finally something Roseville has and there is plenty of it.
It is an asset that now, after a 3-0 win against Blake in the quarterfinals of the Schwan Cup Silver Division, has given it a 7-2-0 record.
All of those qualities were on display as the Raiders scored precise, back-door goals, were aggressive on the penalty kill that forced turnovers and were stingy in the defensive zone.
It was a complete win for the Raiders.
"There is just a lot of chemistry all over the ice," Raiders forward Tom Bartel said. "A lot of us have been playing since our sophomore year on varsity and it is starting to pay off."
Already, Roseville has played a tough schedule coming into the Schwan Cup, but it has had some success this year.
In years past, a game against Blake may have been a daunting task coming in.
Roseville has played a bit different this year.
It went up North to open the season and came away with two wins.
The Suburban East Conference opened against Forest Lake and at one point, Roseville was down 3-0, but it clawed back and eventually won 4-3 in overtime.
There are two losses and those were by one-goal in each game, including a 3-2 loss to Wayzata.
When Roseville came to play against the Bears, it had nearly seen it all this year and played like an experienced team that is ready to make some noise this season.
"I was really happy with the way we played," Raiders coach Jeff Pauletti said. "It has been a while since we have beaten Blake, so this was a nice win for us.
"We may have taken a lot more penalties than I would have liked, but I thought our kill was excellent and that is just our veteran presence taking over and not letting something like that get us down."
Blake was 0-4 on the power-play and had a tough time getting any quality scoring chances against an relentless Raiders penalty kill.
Roseville pressed the puck-carrier, forced numerous turnovers and shots from the perimeter.
"I was disappointed with how we played on the power-play, but you can't take away what Roseville did," Blake coach Jon Sturgis said. "They were aggressive and forced us to make plays and we just didn't do it.
"Some of the things we did on our own, but they deserve credit, too."
"That is what you make teams do with an aggressive kill," Pauletti said. "You make teams react quicker and it a team is not experienced like ours, there might not be the trust and the chemistry to go ahead and be aggressive."
On the offensive end it was equally impressive.
Greg Madden and Austin Colvard scored goals where all they had to do was set their sticks on the ice and the puck would go in.
Colvard took a feed from Bartel, who grabbed a drop pass from McCann.
Bartel skated to his left and a quick flick of the wrists, the puck hit Colvard, who was sitting on the right post for an easy goal.
"There is nothing Devon (Johnson) could do," Sturgis said of his goalie's attempt to stop Colvard's goal. "That is back-door where you don't know if someone is there."
It was just another sign of Roseville's experience.
Plays like that take time, familiarity and practice.
"We spend a lot of time on those," Colvard said. "They may look like easy goals, but we work a lot of them and our older guys run them pretty good."
There might be something special brewing in Roseville and there is no secret ingredient.
Just veterans who are now reaping the benefits of all the hard work they have put in over the years.
"We have a lot of letter-winners on our roster this year and it has helped us," Pauletti said. "These are guys that know what it takes to win games like this.
"This is a big win for us, because Blake is a good team. If someone were to tell me that our record would be 7-2 right after Christmas, no matter who we beat or who we lost to, I would be really happy and right now, I am really proud of our team."
Zach Larson stopped all 20 shots he faced and Roseville killed off all four of its penalties to defeat Blake 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the Schwan Cup Silver Division on Monday, Dec. 26 at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine.
In the first period, Mark Debace scored the only goal Roseville would need, when his wrist shot from the point beat Blake goalie, Devon Johnson.
Later in the first, Austin Colvard tallied another Raiders goal on an easy backdoor play, with impressive passing by Jake McCann and the one who fed him for the score, Tom Bartel.
On a similar play in the second period, Greg Madden scored from in close as Johnson had no chance on a lateral pass from Andrew Colvard.
Madden banged it in to give Roseville a 3-0 lead, which would be the final.
Seven Raiders had a point in the game, but none had more than that.
Roseville will advance to the semifinals with the win and will play Suburban East Conference rival, Forest Lake, which it beat in overtime earlier this season after being down 3-0 at one point against the Rangers.
The Raiders will take on Forest Lake on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at the Schwan Super Rink.
Blake's loss puts it in the consolation bracket and will play Bemidji, which lost to Forest Lake 6-1 in the quarterfinals.
The Bears and Lumberjacks will play on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at the Schwan Super Rink.
Please check back later for the three stars and more coverage of the whole Schwan Cup SIlver Division quarterfinal games.
1. Zach Larson, Roseville
Not a really busy night for Larson, but he did do his job. He stopped all 20 shots he faced against Blake and was one of many strong Raiders penalty killers. He controlled rebounds and the few that got away, he was able to jump on right away to cover.
2. Mark Debace, Roseville
His shot from the point in the first period proved to be the game-winner. It also fits the mold of Roseville, which doesn't have the strong, power-line that most teams do. As a defenseman, he kept it simple and fired a low shot that beat Blake goalie Devon Johnson along the ice and on the stick side.
3. Tom Bartel, Roseville
Bartel recorded an assist, but he could have had much more. He had scoring chances with nifty moves and quick releases off the rush. His shots produced rebounds and the ones that missed, did not by much. His connection with Jake McCann could be one to watch in the Schwan Cup and possibly something to keep an eye on in the postseason.