Photo Gallery: Duluth Marshall vs Blake
Blake was jamming again Saturday afternoon following a 5-2 victory over Duluth Marshall, ranked No. 8 in the Jan. 26 Class 1A coaches' poll. Broz scored a pair of goals as the Bears (11-9-0) swept the mini-series this weekend over the Hilltoppers (13-6-0) at Blake Ice Arena in Hopkins.
Duluth Marshall actually grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first period on a rebound goal from Annika Lindgren, her 10th tally of the season. But Blake responded 1 minute, 41 seconds later on the first Broz goal of the game. Blake junior Suzy Higuchi made the initial backhand shot and Broz pounced on the rebound after the puck wasn’t frozen.
The Bears got a lift only 17 seconds into the second period when freshman Malika Chebaclo scored her first varsity goal. Chebaclo has “grown into her own” and gained confidence the past couple of games, King said, and it paid off Saturday.
“She’s played a little bit timid throughout the year,” King said. “She’s a rookie, but she’s progressed every game. She’s gotten better and better.”
But the Hilltoppers answered 34 seconds later before the first minute of the second period was up, tying the game on junior Meredith Boettcher’s 10th of the season. Blake junior Remy Abraham scored her second of the season later in the period for the eventual game-winning goal.
Abraham and Chebaclo had plenty of cheerleading support from their teammates on their goals. Broz called Abraham “a legend.”
“She’s a big locker-room girl,” Broz said. “She’s always cheering everybody up. She’s dancing, she’s getting everybody hyped for the game.”
The Bears kept their foot on the gas in the third period, getting a shorthanded goal from Higuchi for her 17th of the season. She finished the weekend with three goals and three assists against Duluth Marshall and is riding a five-game points streak (4-6—10).
Broz bookended the Bears’ scoring with a power-play goal only 11 seconds into a 5-on-3 advantage. She has a team-leading five power-play goals. Saturday marked her first multi-goal game of the season – she has nine total goals this season – and her first multi-point game since Dec. 18.
With 5:53 on the clock in the second period, Blake junior goaltender Abby Ziehl exited the game after taking a hit in the crease. Senior Molly Haag finished out the game, making 13 saves. Ziehl went home and will get some rest, King said after the game.
“She got demolished, and it was a bummer,” King said. “But she’s such a tough kid.
“She’s obviously a large part of our team. Knowing her, she’ll be back in no time.”
For King, the victories this weekend are huge for the program, but seeing her team continue to improve each time out this season is what she wants to see. Her players show up each day to work hard, get along with each other in the locker room and be coachable hockey players, King said. They want to learn and hold each other accountable, she added.
“Because if we’re trending in the right direction, we’re getting 1% better, we’re going to be the team that we want and need to be when the first section game rolls around,” King said.
Having King in place as the coach has been good for the Bears because she’s a really open person, Higuchi said. As a team, they’ve also stressed from day one this season that hockey doesn’t have to be your everything and your whole life, Higuchi added.
“But we’ve really emphasized playing for each other,” Higuchi said. “Playing for the girls next to you. And I think that the team has really picked up on that.”
With a 4-1 victory Friday, the pair of wins snapped a five-game losing streak for the Bears, losing to teams like Edina, Wayzata and Holy Family. Even during that skid though, King said her team played extremely well and is progressing in the right direction. She knew it was a matter of time before the wins would pop up.
“I thought we were the better team against some of those opponents,” King said. “So, not defining ourselves by wins and losses is important. It’s fun to hear the win song again.”