St. Francis boys’ hockey coach Tyler Schaff helped his team endure its 0-16 start this season by maintaining an even disposition. He has kept recent success in similar perspective.
The Saints posted two consecutive victories last week, one blowout and one comeback. Schaff called the long-awaited victories byproducts of doing the right things.
“It’s not easy going 0-16,” Schaff said. “But every game, I had a feeling that if we had success in all areas, we could win.”
Injury (a senior captain broke his femur) and inexperience (the team returned players who combined for just 26 goals last season) hurt the cause, but Schaff said players have lost games without losing each other. Nobody has quit the team.
“It’s not a negative environment,” Schaff said.
St. Francis rolled to a 10-0 victory on Jan. 22 at home against North Branch to finally get into the win column. Jordan Olson notched a hat trick and added three assists. Kyle Swanson added two goals and goaltender Logan Garaghty earned a shutout.
“The kids celebrated in the locker room,” Schaff said. “We cut practice short on Friday and told the guys they could hang around if they wanted to. About 90 percent stayed to work on things.”
The extra effort paid off Jan. 24 at Princeton. Trailing 3-1 less than five minutes into the second period, the Saints received goals from Ryan Aldrich and Austin Schuhmacher to draw even. Tough to the end, St. Francis got the winning goal from Nathan Chinander with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
“I was happy to see the guys stay together and come back to win,” Schaff said. “But it wasn’t a surprise to me. This is a good group of kids.”
Taylie Scott, an eighth-grader and starting point guard at Heritage Christian Academy in Maple Grove, scored a career-high 32 points in a loss against Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity on Jan. 22. She was 4-of-7 from the three-point arc, 8-of-14 from the floor and added nine rebounds and four steals.
Her versatility was on display two days later in a victory against St. Croix Prep. Scott scored 18 points, grabbed four steals and added two assists.
Two Centennial athletes achieved career milestones last week.
Senior Joe Nelson became the wrestling program’s 40th member to reach 75 career victories.
Nelson is No. 6 in the 285-pound class in the latest Class 3A rankings according to The Guillotine wrestling magazine.
On the basketball court, junior guard Tyler Peterson surpassed 1,000 points for his career. He scored 19 points in a victory at Spring Lake Park last week, followed by a 28-point effort in a loss to No. 4 Robbinsdale Armstrong.
He scored 32 points in a loss to Simley to put himself over 1,000 career points. Peterson averages 24.7 points per game this season.
David La Vaque • 612-673-7574