Team Southwest's Alex Funk, right, celebrates a goal with linemate Bo Brauer of Edina. Photo by Helen Nelson
Team Southwest's Jason Samuelson (11) of Rochester Lourdes looks for a rebound in front of the Colorado Rampage net. Photo by Helen Nelson
Team Southwest's Mario Bianchi of Holy Angels steps into a Colorado Rampage player. Photo by Helen Nelson
Holy Angels used to be feared.
Two-time champions, and a dominant program, up until 2010-12 the Stars won 141 Missota conference games in a row, 13 straight conference championships, and five state tournament appearances in a six year stretch.
Last year? Well…not so much.
The squad from Richfield went 10-13-1 and lost to Prior Lake in the first round of the Section 2AA playoffs.
Led by forward Mario Bianchi who scored twice in Team Southwest’s 8-5 win over the Colorado Rampage on Sunday, Sept. 9, at Fogerty Arena in Blaine, the Stars are looking to make a resurgence back to greatness, and the future looks bright.
Bianchi, a senior, has only one gear: fast. He used that speed Sunday to zip around the ice and cause havoc alongside Edina forwards Connor Hurley and Dylan Malmquist.
“I think people are starting to form an image of Holy Angels based on last year,” Bianchi said after Team Southwest’s win. “I don’t think that’s gonna be the case this year. It’s gonna be a lot different.”
The brightest star of the Holy Angels group, Bianchi had 59 points (25 goals, 34 assists) last season including three goals and two assists in the section playoffs loss.
He may lack size, but his speed makes up any disadvantages he has from being small.
As he puts it: “There are big guys out there and they can’t catch me.”
During the summer, Bianchi has been working with Craig Shephard through his D.A.R.T. program to improve his agility while also attending Holy Angels summer camp. This is his first year in the Upper Midwest Elite Hockey League. Beside him, forwards Frankie Mork and Tony Haeg (both Team Southwest as well) will return to rebuild the Holy Angels name.
“It’s actually pretty cool because there’s been a lot of history with Holy Angels. The whole 2000’s they’ve been just a dominant team in AA,” Bianchi said. “It’s kinda cool, people look up to us. A lot of the younger guys are trying figure out what Holy Angels was really like and we’re doing the best we can.”
Improved and experienced, Bianchi has set the bar high for the upcoming year.
“There’s definitely not a thought in our mind that we want to lose a game. We want to go undefeated in conference, that’s our goal.”
-- Walker Orenstein, MN Hockey Hub staff
Alex Funk of Rochester Lourdes scored twice in an 11-second span of the third period to help Team Southwest rally past the Colorado Rampage 8-5 on Sunday, Sept. 9, in an Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League matchup at Fogerty Arena in Blaine.