White Bear Lake goaltender Evan Foss (33) made a save on a shot by Hill-Murray forward Charlie Strobel (27) in the section final on March 1. Photo: Shari L. Gross * email@example.com
WHITE BEAR LAKE (21-4-1) VS. BLAINE (NO. 2, 22-2-2), 11 A.M.
Scouting the Bears: Other than their black and orange colors, the undefeated Suburban East Conference champions looked a lot different this season. White Bear Lake scored 51 more goals than last season. And a renewed commitment to team defense helped the Bears allow fewer than two goals per game. “Our kids grind it out, they communicate, they block shots — they are the essence of a team,” coach Tim Sager said. High-powered Blaine will test all those attributes. “We can’t even give them a crack because they are good enough to blow it wide open,” Sager said.
Scouting the Bengals: Led by Mr. Hockey finalist Bryce Brodzinski, widely considered the metro area’s top forward, Blaine has won 17 consecutive games. Brodzinski has scored 35 goals and added 49 assists. Linemate Carsen Richels exploded this season with 39 goals and 38 assists. Brodzinski, who is committed to the Gophers, is the playmaker. Richels is the sniper. Both measure about 6-1 and 200 pounds, and are capable of skating around or through defenders. Additional offensive threats include forwards Cole Hansen (12 goals, 37 assists) and Will Hillman (15-18) and defenseman Nick Hauck (3-31).
Worth knowing: We finally get to see how this game, originally scheduled for Jan. 29, turns out. Snow and resulting unsafe roads forced the regular-season game to be postponed.
DAVID LA VAQUE