Girls State Hockey Tournament, Class A Championship, Breck vs. South St. Paul. 2/25/12. (left to right) Brecks's Milica McMillen and South St. Paul's Abbie Wisneski crashed to the ice while battling for the puck.
It's tough to do much while serving time in the penalty box. Impossible, really.
So after seven trips to the sin bin through the first two games of the Class 1A girls' hockey tournament, Breck's Milica McMillen played as much of Saturday's championship game as she could.
Like, all 70 minutes.
The senior defenseman didn't leave the ice in Breck's 3-2 double-overtime victory.
But she did have the energy to run from the postgame interview area back to the locker room to celebrate. Wasn't she exhausted?
"I'll be fine!" she called back.
Amazing how much pep a gold medal brings to a player's step.
"We were hoping we wouldn't have to, but we were prepared for her to play the whole game," Mustangs' coach Chris Peterson said. "And Milica's the kind of kid who can do it. ... She's conditioned for something like this."
In addition to the 14 minutes in the penalty box, McMillen sat for most of the third period in the quarterfinals and semifinals with Breck comfortably ahead.
In the finals against South St. Paul, McMillen hung back on the blue line to conserve energy. It helped limit the Packers to 10 shots through the third period and two overtimes.
"It's not ideal, because you love to have her offensive skills," Peterson said of McMillen, the team's second-leading scorer. "If she wanted to, she could get in and rush around people the whole game."
As crunch time neared, McMillen got in on more plays and had the secondary assist on Leah Schwartzman's game-winning goal.
"I told her before the game, 'I want people to remember this game. Leave your mark on the state tournament by playing the best high school hockey game you can play,'" Peterson said.