Blaine senior Emily Brown, known as a solid stay-at-home defenseman, enjoyed an offensive explosion this season. Her goal celebrations are catching up.
Brown, who has committed to the Gophers, scored her 16th goal of the season Friday, burying a power-play shot with one second remaining in the second period.
“I went with the starfish method,” said Brown, who leapt off the ice and spread her skates and gloves wide.
A second exciting goal, this one by Paige Beebe just 11 seconds into the third period, spurred Brown to action.
“I might have chosen the wrong sport because I jumped pretty high,” Brown said. “I could’ve been a basketball player, maybe.”
Those celebrations are fine with teammates, who Brown often treats like bowling pins.
“I usually knock over the celebration huddle, and I have to apologize as we get up,” Brown said.
From soccer to the ice
St. Paul United senior Maggie Conners was Ms. Soccer 2016, playing for Visitation. Her speed, physicality and competitiveness on the soccer field also transfer over to the ice, she said.
“I love hockey because it’s a little different than soccer, but it’s still the same feeling that I get,” Conners said. “I love being out on the ice. I love playing just like I do with soccer.”
Conners shares the ice and the soccer pitch with teammate Samantha Burke, the goaltender for Visitation. United coach Nate Mauer asked Conners on Friday who would win the battle if she had a penalty kick against Burke.
“I’m not going to answer that,” Conners said with a laugh.
Burke responded: “Probably Maggie.”
Role shift boosts defense
Blake had too many forwards at tryouts this season. So, C.C. Wallin and Sarah Chute stepped in, shifting from forward to defense. Once both players stepped into the defensive roles, that’s when the Bears took off as a team, said coach Shawn Reid.
“As a forward, it’s so nice to have them back there because since they’ve played forward, they see the ice differently, I think, than a lot of our other defense,” said Lucy Burton.
Reid said he’s spoiled to coach this team, and he has equal confidence in Wallin and Chute playing at either position.
“Any bozo can play forward,” Reid said. “It takes a special person to be able to play D.”
The afternoon session at Xcel Energy Center drew 2,430, and the evening session drew 2,774 — totaling 5,204 for the day.