Blake’s Joe Miller (20) faces off against Blaine's Zach Buzick (9) during the afternoon game of Hockey Day Minnesota. Miller scored the game-winner for the Bears in their 3-2 victory over the Bengals. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Joe Miller woke up Saturday morning in a state of disbelief.
After spending months watching the screw-by-screw, board-by-board construction of every hockey player’s dream playground across the street from his high school, Miller came to the fuzzy realization his excruciating wait was over.
Game day — Hockey Day — had finally arrived.
“It was kind of surreal that today was actually the day we were finally going to come out here and play,” Miller said after scoring the winning goal late in the third period in Blake’s 3-2 Hockey Day Minnesota triumph over Blaine at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis. “I made sure I soaked it all in and enjoyed the experience.”
Adding to the fun was the Jack Sabre shot from the slot that deflected off Miller’s stick, then his shin pad, on its way to the goal.
Blake’s Theo Crosby (22) defends a centering pass as goalie Aksel Reid (30) hugs the post against Blaine. The Bears defeated the Bengals 3-2 Saturday afternoon at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Joe Miller’s deflection with 5:34 remaining in the third period lifted Blake past Blaine 3-2 on Saturday afternoon in a Hockey Day Minnesota matchup outdoors in blustery, single-digit temperatures at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis.
Miller, a junior who leads the Bears in scoring with 17 goals and 38 points, said the puck deflected off his stick and shin pad before sailing into the Blaine net.
Blaine’s Cole Hansen opened the scoring in the game’s opening minute, firing a short-angle shot over the shoulder over Bears goaltender Aksel Reid.
Blake, ranked No. 8 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll, was playing in the shadow of its high school across the street. The Bears (13-4-0, 3-0-0) took a 2-1 lead into the third on second-period goals by Gavin Best and Brett Witzke.
Blaine’s Ben Wallraff tied it at 2-2 early in the third on a deflection in the slot.
Blaine (10-6-0, 7-1-0) had a prime opportunity to tie the game in the final two minutes when Carsen Richels, a New Hampshire commit and 42-goal scorer last season, was open in the slot when he collected a pass and fired a low shot that Reid stopped.
Reid finished with 26 saves, while Ryan Wallin had 37 stops for the Bengals.
Blaine’s Ryan Wallin (35) dives for a loose puck after making an acrobatic save against Blake Saturday afternoon. The Bengals fell to the Bears 3-2 at Parade Stadium. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
The MN Hockey Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.