Jack Jablonski arrives with his mother, Leslie, to watch the game against Holy Family Catholic. Photo by Helen Nelson
“That’s one of the moments you can’t find words for,” Red Knights coach Ken Pauly said about Jablonski’s arrival in the arena. “It transcends the game, it transcends the state tournament, the sections, all that stuff. To have your friend and your teammate back in our home and in our locker room and all that, I just think it meant a great deal to the guys.
“All you have to do is take a look on their faces.”
Then there’s Besse, a junior, has been a goal-scoring phenom since he was a Pee Wee. Remarkably, he has managed to elevate his scoring feats beyond the stratosphere into depths-of-space territory. Besse, who has four goals and two assists against the Fire, has scored two or more goals in nine of the Red Knights’ last 12 games.
“You look at the kid,” Horn said. “No one really works harder than he does.”
Besse, who has committed to play at Wisconsin, used his speed to blow past Holy Family Catholic defensemen en route to two of his goals. Another goal came after he found a back-door opening on a power play, took a cross-ice pass and easily deposited the puck in the net.
There was a garbage goal, too. Besse finished off a goalmouth scramble by whacking a loose puck into the net. He was sticking his nose in the crease looking for another garbage goal in the third period when he was instead sent flying into the crossbar.
It can be dangerous business camping out in front of the net. Besse doesn’t care. Not a bit.
“Goals are goals in his mind, and he gets the same feeling,” Horn said. “Just like, if you think about, someone like Alex Ovechkin, someone who loves to score.
“Besse loves to score.”
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Besse has 44 goals and 37 assists in 26 games. He and linemates T.J. Moore and Dan Labosky, also juniors, have been shredding opposing defenses all season. They form, easily, one of the top lines in the state.
Besse, of course, is the ringleader.
“He’s definitely a goal-scoring machine,” said Holy Family Catholic coach Noel Rahn. “He’s always been a gifted goal scorer. How he goes is how that team goes, obviously.
“The big question is will he be able to keep producing. Because if he is scoring goals it is going to be awfully tough to beat that team.”
Benilde-St. Margaret’s plays Robbinsdale Armstrong (7-17-1) in the section semifinals on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Bloomington Ice Garden. The seventh-seeded Falcons stunned No. 2 seed Eden Prairie 2-1 on Thursday in the biggest upset of the state playoffs so far.