Blake coach Shawn Reid planned to privately tell his goaltender Tori Johnson her efforts during the Bears’ Class 1A championship run was all-tournament-worthy.
Instead, he got the opportunity to proclaim it publicly and didn’t hold back. Though Johnson was left off the all-tournament team, her stops against some of the state’s top scorers said votherwise, Reid and Warroad coach David Marvin said.
Johnson humbly accepted the praise, showing her content with a championship medal.
“I think I’ve been recognized,” Johnson said. “To me, it’s just getting here. That was the goal of the team and I wanted to be there for the team. That’s what is important. I know I played relatively well, but there are always little things that you think back on and want to change.”
The senior goaltender had 49 saves but more impressively limited scoring of two of the state’s top scorers, Nicole Schammel (Red Wing) and Lisa Marvin (Warroad). Red Wing entered its semifinal game against Blake averaging 9.3 goals per game in the playoffs and Warroad averaging 6.25.
The two teams combined for five goals against Johnson. Schammel and Marvin scored only one goal apiece.
“I think you gotta go out there with an unbiased view of every single player,” she said. “You have to play like every shooter is going to be the top scorer on that team.”
The chant “Brano” in the final moments of Blake’s 7-2 Class 1A championship victory gave the Bears chills. The players dedicated the season to former coach Brano Stankovsky, who died 10 months ago from complications of a stroke suffered last February.
“I know we’ve been working for probably 365 days to get here for him. He’s taught us a lot along the way,” senior Dani Cameranesi said. “Hearing our student section chant his name at the end of the game was so surreal.”
Stankovsky’s daughter text-messaged motivational words to Cameranesi before Saturday’s final and the senior shared those thoughts with her teammates.
Total tournament attendance was 19,540.