Hockey coaches would rather chew through a puck than look past the next game, particularly in the state tournament.
A day off between the Class 1A quarterfinals and semifinals at Xcel Energy Center, however, requires planning for both local and outstate teams.
After St. Paul United’s victory Wednesday, players planned to hit nearby Burger Moe’s in St. Paul for lunch, drop their gear off at nearby Drake Arena and then head home. Players will attend school Thursday because coach Nate Mauer wants them to enjoy their “big dog” status in the hallways. Practice starts at 3 p.m. and then it’s back downtown for a team dinner and night at a hotel on the eve of the semifinal.
The team booked a hotel for Wednesday night in case of a quarterfinal loss and the need to play in the consolation bracket Thursday.
“You can’t overlook anything,” Mauer said.
Like Mauer, Blake coach Shawn Reid has players attending school on Thursday. Afterward is the Bears’ final practice of the season. Then it’s home to bed.
“Mom and Dad can watch them,” Reid said with a smile. “I don’t need to babysit.”
Warroad, a seven-time state tournament participant since 2009, has a proven itinerary when staying six hours from home for four days.
The plan was to grab some food before watching Wednesday’s evening-session games at the arena. On Thursday, the Warriors are scheduled to practice at 10 a.m., followed by a team meal at the hotel.
“Well, it goes pretty fast,” coach David Marvin said. “In Warroad, you can play a round of golf and catch some fish in a day. Down here it’s, ‘Well, let’s try to get a meal in the next four hours and try to get back.’ ”
Blake’s Madeline Wethington got credited with her team’s second-period goal though it should have been awarded to younger sister Audrey.
Audrey, a freshman forward, deflected the puck Madeline blasted from the point into the Alexandria net. Madeline heard all about it as the two shared a celebratory embrace.
“She was like, ‘I think I got that,’ ” Madeline said. “We’re very competitive, but I was very happy for her. It’s her first state tournament, and I want to make it special for her. It was a good moment.”
The goal gave Blake a 1-0 lead with 1:07 to go in the second period.
“It’s a Wethington-Wethington goal so it doesn’t matter,” said Madeline, a sophomore defenseman who has made a verbal commitment to the Gophers.
David La Vaque, Heather Rule