The Brainerd/Pillager adapted floor hockey team scored seven goals in the final 10 minutes of the third period to defeat Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka 11-4 in the physically impaired division championship Saturday at Bloomington Jefferson High School.
Senior defenseman Jake Heikkenen scored four goals and had two assists in the game, and fellow seniors Jacob Heinlen and Cody Vleck each added two goals for Brainerd/Pillager (16-0), which has not lost since the 2016 state tournament.
"That's kind of what we've had from this group over the last couple years," Brainerd/Pillager coach Todd Person said of the third period. "These three seniors that we've got, they've just kind of rose to every challenge that's been presented to them."
Heikkenen, Heinlen and Vleck have been playing together for five years and led the team to a state title last year. They said Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka challenged their team Saturday like no other opponent had this season.
"We had to work even harder for this game than the entire season combined," Heinlen said.
Brainerd/Pillager led 3-0 early in the second period before the Robins (12-4) tied the game with three goals in 3 minutes, 35 seconds. Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound Westonka tied the score again late in the second period before Brainerd/Pillager's third-period flurry.
"It really humbled us to realize that we aren't as good when we aren't trying and that they have the ability to keep up with us," Vleck said. "We had to dig deep, and we finally found our groove and we were able to capitalize on it."
St. Cloud Area wins CI
Adam Marshall scored two goals in the game's first 31 seconds, sparking the Slapshots over South Washington County 13-4 in the cognitively impaired division championship.
Marshall finished with three goals and five assists, and junior center Brian Jones added six goals for St. Cloud Area (15-1).
"We told our guys we had to have a quick start," said Slapshots coach Mike Bakken, noting that South Washington County (15-1) had been undefeated entering the game.
Jones, who had 43 goals in the regular season, showed off his stickhandling and shooting skills throughout the game, as St. Cloud Area built a 10-3 lead after two periods.
Junior Jordan Williams added two goals and three assists for the Slapshots. Freshman Tyler Tinucci scored all four goals for South Washington County, a cooperative between Park of Cottage Grove, Woodbury and East Ridge High Schools.