St. Louis Park senior forward Tyler Broderson has a team-leading 21 points in six games this season. Photo by Bob Tema
Shjon Podein has had a wonderful beginning to his first season as head coach at St. Louis Park, leading the Orioles to a 6-0-0 record, including Tuesday’s 8-1 drubbing of St. Paul Academy.
As the new face of the program, Podein has turned around a team that went 3-22-0 last year into a dangerous squad that has averaged six and a half goals per game, while only allowing one and a third on the defensive end.
“We’ve really raised the expectations of what we had on this team,” Podein said. “These kids, they not only grabbed for it and ran but they drooled for it, they craved it. I think that’s a big difference in why you see them having success together as a team."
Senior captain Tyler Broderson has enjoyed success under Podein and noted after the game the differences since Podein took over.
“Just the attitude around the rink,” Broderson said. “We’re all willing to learn from coach, and we all want to win, which is a big difference from last year. We all just came and kinda messed around, but this year everybody’s here and we want to win.”
St. Louis Park players celebrate after scoring a goal against St. Paul Academy. Photo by Bob Tema
Day-to-day there have been big changes as well, Broderson said. The practices in particular have been quite the change of pace.
“Everybody comes to them with the attitude that it’s harder than a game. You work harder in a practice than you do in a game, and that makes the games ten times easier,” he said."
One of the biggest successes so far in Podein’s time at St. Louis Park has been the ability to inject fresh, top-notch talent into his roster. His presence was definitely a selling point to young players such as star freshman Josh Passolt.
For Passolt, the chance to play for Podein was too good to pass up. Even though he was being recruited by other schools, he said Podein was the biggest influence in his final decision.
Passolt and eighth-grader Alec Baer have combined for 18 points so far this season, five of which came in Tuesday’s win against the Spartans. The two are part of three consistent Orioles lines, all of which are scoring threats.
“When we play together, it’s just everyone willing to do all of the little things it takes to win,” Podein said. “I think if we continue to play that way we have a good chance at having success in the future.”
For veterans like Broderson who had to persevere through last year, the program's undefeated streak has been the best part of Podein’s short tenure.
“It feels great,” Broderson said with a grin. “It feels a lot better than last year.”
St. Louis Park freshman Josh Passolt (4) breaks into the St. Paul Academy zone ahead of Drew Blackmun. Photo by Bob Tema