With one foot on the bench and the other stretched ahead to rest on the Xcel Energy Center dasher boards, Breck's Milica McMillen meticulously wrapped white tape around the blade of her hockey stick 45 minutes before the Class 1A girls' hockey championship game. A few minutes later, she crafted 25 practice pucks into a mangled tilted design fans of Jenga would crave.
"Just my little superstition," McMillen said later. "I probably pay more attention to how I tape my stick than making the pucks look cool. It's something I've always done at state."
She eventually walked out of the arena Saturday night with a first-time souvenir: a championship medal.
McMillen helped the Mustangs to their first state championship in grand fashion, assisting on Leah Schwartzman's double-overtime goal against South St. Paul.
McMillen, a senior defenseman and Gophers recruit, played every second of the game.
"We were hoping we wouldn't have to, but we were prepared for her to play the whole game," Breck coach Chris Peterson said. "And Milica's the kind of kid who can do it. ... She's conditioned for something like this."
McMillen, known for her aggressive style of play, took seven penalties through the quarterfinals and semifinals.
"I knew the refs had been calling it tight in the tournament," she said. "I had to try to stay away from people, but pick sticks up and try not to get my stick in their midsection. Our focus was to just skate."
Minnetonka won the Class 2A championship for the second year in a row, fending off Lakeville North 2-1 in overtime in the semifinals before blanking Roseville 3-0 in the championship game.
Sydney Rossman continued her stellar play in net. The junior allowed just two goals at state and was joined on the all-tournament team by four teammates: forwards Laura Bowman and Amy Petersen and defensemen Sydney Baldwin and Sidney Morin.
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