Blake wins Class 1A hockey title

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 22, 2014 - 10:51 PM

The Bears charged back from a 2-0 deficit to win their second Class 1A state championship in a row.


Blake players piled on goalie Anna Kruesel in celebration of their 3-2 come-from-behind victory over East Grand Forks in the Class 1A championship game Saturday.

Photo: Photos by DAVID JOLES •,

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Blake’s goaltender, a precocious eighth-grader named Anna Kruesel, had more than just teammates supporting her late in Saturday’s Class 1A championship game.

Per their custom this season, Jeff and Sheila Kruesel moved to seats closer to the daughter in goal for the third period. Sheila sat parallel to the goal in the sixth row, her hands folded for much of the final 17 minutes. Jeff, a goalie at Rochester John Marshall and St. Cloud State, was eight rows higher and remained standing.

They watched as the Bears staved off a final push from East Grand Forks and thrust their hands in the air at the conclusion of Blake’s 3-2 comeback victory.

Trailing 2-0 at the first intermission, an undermanned Blake team made adjustments to the lineup and rallied for a second consecutive Class 1A state title at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

“It’s a really good feeling,” said Kruesel, who stopped 29 shots and outdueled East Grand Forks Senior Goalie of the Year finalist Madi Galstad. Kruesel traded hand signs with her father and facial expressions with her mother at times during the game.

Already without injured standout forwards Karlie Lund and Jordan Chancellor, Blake watched as top-seeded East Grand Forks (26-3-1) stormed to a 2-0 lead behind goals from sisters Haley and Alexa Mack.

To counter, Blake (23-7-1) coach Shawn Reid moved defenseman Sylvie Wallin from defense to forward to spark the offense. Wallin’s first shift as a forward was highlighted by Carly Bullock’s 50th goal of the season at 8:38 of the second period.

A great chance for Haley Mack later in the period was thwarted by a better save from Kruesel. Instead of waiting on Mack to come toward the net, Kruesel moved out to challenge her and made the stop.

Wallin added two goals in the third period to give Blake its first lead. Having blown a two-goal advantage against Red Wing in the semifinals, the Bears applied their experience to prevent an East Grand Forks comeback.

“We knew we had to be relentless,” Wallin said. “We couldn’t stop pressuring because we knew we didn’t want to go to overtime again.”

Saturday’s state title is Blake’s fifth, most of any school. Asked about whether his team would consider opting up to Class 2A, Reid said: “I don’t know. That’s not my decision. It’s a decision for the administration. Wherever we’re placed, we’re going to play as hard as we can at all times.”

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  • Blake’s Anna Kreusel, an eighth-grader, made a save in the first period.

  • Blake players celebrated after a goal by Sylvie Wallin, middle rear, that tied the score 2-2 in the Class 1A final.

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Minnesota 20 1st Qtr 3:18
Philadelphia 20
Houston 6:30 PM
Portland 6:30 PM
Sacramento 6:30 PM
Toronto 6:30 PM
Dallas 7:00 PM
LA Clippers 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Golden State 8:00 PM
Chicago 9:30 PM
Pittsburgh 0 1st Prd 11:06
New Jersey 0
St. Louis 2 1st Prd 10:52
Carolina 0
Nashville 8:00 PM
Buffalo 9:00 PM
Chicago 9:00 PM
Harvard 54 2nd Half 11:34
Princeton 50
Quinnipiac 11 1st Half 11:41
Canisius 11
Brown 17 1st Half 7:45
Cornell 12
Siena 22 1st Half 9:11
Manhattan 26
Marist 17 1st Half 6:48
Niagara 15
Dartmouth 7 1st Half 10:26
Penn 6
Oregon 7:00 PM
Arizona State
Yale 7:00 PM
Monmouth 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Oregon State 9:00 PM
Kent State 9:00 PM
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 20 1st Half 11:26
Providence 13
Cornell 15 1st Half 7:47
Brown 10
Columbia 12 1st Half 8:57
Yale 17
Coll of Charleston 2 1st Half 9:52
Drexel 10
Penn 10 1st Half 9:32
Dartmouth 8
Elon 11 1st Half 12:10
James Madison 17
(19) Princeton 20 1st Half 12:10
Harvard 13
(9) Florida State 18 1st Half 11:29
Georgia Tech 3
Quinnipiac 16 1st Half 10:15
Siena 22
Richmond 16 1st Half 8:29
Rhode Island 11
Loyola-Chicago 11 1st Half 14:09
Southern Ill 6
Georgetown 7:00 PM
Villanova 7:00 PM
Wichita State 7:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Xavier 7:05 PM
Bradley 7:05 PM
Illinois State
Missouri State 7:05 PM
Arizona 8:00 PM
(11) Arizona State 8:00 PM


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