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Blake hangs on to edge Minneapolis in the Schwan Cup Bronze Division championship

By Drew Herron, SportsEngine, 12/31/16, 7:15AM CST


The Bears surrendered two third-period goals 10 seconds apart but held on to beat Minneapolis 3-2.

Blake celebrates after securing first place at this year's Schwan Cup Broze Division Tournament. The Bears defeated Minneapolis 3-2 in Saturday's championship at Ridder Arena. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine

Blake's Eric Elftmann (21) and Cully Olsen (12) scramble for the puck on the doorstep, while Minneapolis goalie Preston Holt mans the crease during Saturday's Schwan Cup Bronze Division championship. Blake defeated Minneapolis 3-2. Photo by Drew Herron

Blake employed a fiery start, then navigated through the bumps in the road that followed to secure a 3-2 victory over Minneapolis Saturday at Ridder Arena. In doing so, the Bears locked up the Bronze Division championship at this year’s Schwan Cup.

Senior forward Eric Elftmann scored twice and assisted on another as the Bears (7-3) never trailed and used its speed to overwhelm section-rival Minneapolis (5-6) for the second time in three weeks.

It could prove to be a signature victory for a Bears team still trying to carve out its identity.

“This was a big character win for us,” Blake coach Greg May said. “The first period was definitely our best period, then we got into the undisciplined area of the game in the second, and even the start of the third. But I’m proud with the way we bounced back and showed some resiliency. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we did what we needed to do, and we got the job done.”

Blake, ranked No. 16 in Class 1A in the state coaches' poll, rode an aggressive forecheck on the attack, and was able to move the puck low-to-high in the offensive zone to consistently pressure Minneapolis into making mistakes.

The Bears took a two-goal lead into the first intermission, and after a scoreless second period, Minneapolis came to life by scoring twice in the opening 61 seconds to draw the game level.

First, Sebastian Gholl struck on the power play just 54 seconds into the period, and it was followed seven seconds later by Preston Holt’s score that knotted things up at 2-2.

From there, the Bears went to work and restored order. With 9:22 to play, Elftmann scored his second goal, the game-winner, as the Bears held on.

It capped off a successful weekend for Blake, who will look to build on the small steps they’ve taken.

“When we are having success, we’ve been able to get the puck behind their defensemen, and we are winning the race to the puck,” May said. “It’s simple hockey.”

Blake goaltender John Broucek stopped 16 of the 18 shots he faced, while Minneapolis netminder Preston Holt made 28 saves on 31 shots.

Minneapolis centerman Owen Kumasaka and Blake Weyerhauser from Blake School lock up off a face-off in the second period. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine

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