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Breck girls' goalies rotate the excellence every other game

By PATRICK JOHNSON, Special to the Star Tribune, 11/25/14, 9:04PM CST


Breck goalies and Division I recruits Sydney Scobee and Jenna Brenneman are juniors who play every other game.

Breck goalie Sydney Scobee, blocked the shot of her teammate during practice. (KYNDELL HARKNESS/STAR TRIBUNE)

Most high school hockey teams would be delighted to have one
Division I-caliber goaltender. It seems almost unfair for Breck to have two.

Breck juniors Jenna Brenneman and Sydney Scobee each committed to play D-I college hockey earlier this month. Brenneman chose Clarkson University. Scobee picked the University of Vermont.

“I would say they’re the best two junior goalies in the state,” said coach Ronda Engelhardt, who is in her second year with Breck, which is 6-0 and ranked No. 3 in Class 1A.

Brenneman and Scobee have shared the starting netminder duties for the Mustangs since they were freshmen. The duo is currently on an every-other-game rotation. That could change if one of them outplays the other. So far that hasn’t happened.

Their coach said the competition for playing time has made both goalies better because they push each other every day.

“We don’t know who is going to play, ever, so it helps us to work harder,” Brenneman said. “We both want to play.”

Though embroiled in a battle for the same starting spot, Brenneman and Scobee said they’re best friends.

“We’re inseparable,” Scobee said. “We hang out a lot. Outside of the rink we do just what teenage girls do. Inside the rink there’s a little competitiveness that comes out in both of us."

Last year the tandem allowed 61 goals in 30 regular-season games. Brenneman earned Tri-Metro all-conference honors. Scobee garnered all-conference honorable mention.

So far this year, Scobee is 4-0 with two shutouts. She has 82 saves on 85 shots and three goals against for a 0.75 goals-against average and a .965 save percentage.

Brenneman is 2-0 with one shutout and one goal against on 47 shots for a 0.50 goals-against average and a .979 save percentage.

“I’d like to start every game, but it’s fine having Sydney play, too,” Brenneman said. “No matter who is playing we feel confident, because we’re confident in each other.”

Scobee said her goal when she starts is to give her team a chance to win. When she’s pulling backup duties, she’s there to support the team. She said she’s learned a lot from being able to watch from the bench.

“It’d be nice to play every game,” Scobee said. “But being able to watch [Jenna] helps me and gives me ideas on things I should try.”

Engelhardt, formerly Curtin — a Ms. Hockey from Roseville and former Gophers star — said the girls have different goalie styles, but both are “solid all-around” and “do everything well,” she said.

Scobee is tall for a goalie and plays on her feet more than Brenneman, who prefers a butterfly style. Brenneman said they’re both fast, see the puck well and are good at controlling rebounds.

Off the ice, they’re two peas in a pod.

“I think we’re pretty similar,” Brenneman said. “We’re both sort of your stereotypical goalies; we’re pretty weird. We like to have fun.”

Engelhardt said goalies are always a different breed and hers are no exception.

“They’re very goofy and fun,” she said. “It’s something about someone who wants people to shoot pucks at them has to have a different personality. The players love them.”

The girls said they have been asked why they don’t think about transferring to a school where they could start every game. But it’s not even a question at this point — for either of them.

“This team, this rink, this school, Sydney — I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world,” Brenneman said.