Breck girls’ hockey coach Ronda Engelhardt made history Saturday, becoming the first former state championship-winning player to coach a team to a title.
She went by Curtin when she was a dominant player in the budding sport of girls’ hockey. She helped Roseville to an undefeated championship season in 1996 and again in 1999 en route to winning Ms. Hockey.
“I did tell the seniors that there’s nothing better than leaving on top,” said Engelhardt. “It was fun to watch the seniors get to experience that.”
Engelhardt, in her fifth season at Breck, is the third female coach of a girls’ hockey state championship team, following Whitney Restemayer of Thief River Falls (2015) and Edina’s Sami Reber (2017, 2018).
The Class 2A championship game also marked the first time two female head coaches were behind the benches. Both played high school hockey as well. Reber played for the Hornets when they made their first state tournament in 2009 and finished second in 2010 and 2011. Centennial coach Kristi King won Class 2A titles playing for Stillwater in 2007 and 2009.
The winning touch
Edina senior forward Aliyah Lance scored two goals in the state tournament, and they were important. She had the winning goals in both the semifinal victory over Eden Prairie and in the Class 2A title game. Her winning goal against Centennial came 2 minutes, 39 seconds into the third period with a top-shelf shot on the power play.
“Our team is so talented with so many girls that bring something to the table,” Lance said. “So to be able to be a part of that ... is just great.”
Edina teammates Brooke Tucker, CC Bowlby, Emily Oden and Sophia Doll made the Class 2A all-tournament team, though Lance did not.
Saturday’s championship session drew an announced 2,953 fans.
Herb Brooks Award
New Ulm forward Ali Beltz and Centennial forward Anneke Linser received the Herb Brooks Award, given to players who best represent the former coach’s values and character.
Eagan shut out No. 5 seed Eden Prairie 3-0 in Class 2A. Senior center Taylor Anderson had a hat trick.
In Class 1A, Alexandria eighth-grader Kaci Trosvig scored 18 seconds into the second period for a 1-0 victory over Proctor/Hermantown.
It took three overtimes, but Andover won the consolation title in Class 2A with a 5-4 victory over Lakeville South.
St. Paul United won its Class 1A title in OT, 3-2 over Red Wing.