Blaine’s Ian Scheid remembers well the thrill of participating in the Class 2A boys’ hockey state tournament as a freshman.
“It was pretty exciting to play in front of that many fans, on the big stage, against Edina,” Scheid said.
The 2011 state tournament was Blaine’s sixth consecutive appearance, a modern-day standard for consistency. Naturally, Scheid expected to return. He still is waiting.
Blaine suffered section tournament losses the past two seasons. Maple Grove crushed the Bengals 15-1 in the final in Scheid’s sophomore season. A 5-4 semifinal loss to Champlin Park last season felt even more difficult to accept.
Now a senior, Scheid is trying to help Blaine find its way back to St. Paul.
“He’s probably improved more than any kid over in the time he’s been with us,” Blaine coach Dave Aus said. “He’s always been dependable but he’s become one of our top players.”
Aus credited Scheid for a rich understanding of the game. The wisdom comes, in part, from Ian’s father, Jim, a longtime hockey coach. Jim’s cousin, Tony Scheid, has won two Class 2A state championships coaching the Stillwater girls’ hockey program.
Scheid spoke with Star Tribune reporter David La Vaque about helping the team overcome feelings of entitlement and returning to the things that made the program successful.
Q: Your freshman year was Blaine’s sixth trip to state in a row. Do you just figure you’d keep going?
A: Yeah, because my age group did pretty well in peewees and bantams so I figured we’d make a good run at it.
Q: Did you treat the loss to Maple Grove as one bad year and figure you’d come back and win the section?
A: Yeah, they had a lot of seniors and we were pretty young. They were a lot stronger than us,and they outmuscled us. I figured we’d get stronger in the summer and come back and win it again.
Q: Then you lose in the semifinals to Champlin Park. Was that somehow tougher to take than losing to Maple Grove?
A: I think so because in the Maple Grove game we went down about 4-0 right away, and I think everyone pretty much knew it was over. We didn’t score more than four goals against them all year. But against Champlin Park, I thought we dominated most of the game, and we couldn’t find the back of the net. And we could have been better in our defensive zone.
Q: Coach Aus said this year was the first time every player wrote down their goal of winning the state tournament. How have you seen guys preparing to reach that goal?
A: You’re seeing guys in the weight room working as hard as they can. You’re seeing how we push each other in practice, battling in every drill and wanting to get better.
Q: Has being gone two years from the state tournament created more of a hunger?
A: Oh yeah. I think some of us thought we were entitled to win because we won six years in a row. But we need to do the little things like blocking shots to get back to where we’ve been.
Q: You, Alex Copa and Tyler Cline played in the state tournament as freshmen. What do the three of you talk about in terms of getting back?
A: Our freshman year we weren’t supposed to go to state. But our team focused on our play in the defensive zone and getting the puck out. We blocked shots, got the puck out and took a hit to make a play. Those are the things we need to do.
David La Vaque