Most of what Warroad coach David Marvin talked about in the postgame news conference after his team’s 6-1 loss to Breck focused on two calls on the ice in the third period. Referee Jestina Vichorek blew the whistle after an initial shot hit the Breck goaltender’s body and then bounced away.
A few minutes later, Vichorek awarded Breck a penalty shot on a delay-of-game call against Warroad.
“She blew the call dead early, she makes a mistake. Everybody makes them,” Marvin said. “And then goes down to the other end, can’t find her whistle, and then all of a sudden comes up with a penalty shot.
“How many state championship games have you seen happen like that in a stretch?”
Bill Kronschnabel, coordinator of hockey officials for the Minnesota State High School League, said the calls were correct.
“She blew the whistle because she lost sight of the puck, which is what referees are instructed to do,” Kronschnabel said.
Kronschnabel was in the replay booth when the penalty shot was called with 4:44 left in regulation.
“Great call,” Kronschnabel said. “The puck was in the crease, she was laying in the crease, she put her arm out and covered the puck.”
Breck chose sophomore Sadie Lindsay, on the ice at the time of the penalty, for the penalty shot. She scored to make it 4-1. It was the first penalty shot goal scored in girls’ state tournament history.
“She has such great composure reading the goaltender,” Breck co-head coach Steve Persian said.
Buy-in is the secret
Breck and Warroad coaches said greater offseason buy-in helped ensure the championship game rematch from a year ago.
“That buy-in was there last year, but I know that from the day last season ended until now, the kids and their parents are doing what it takes to get better,” Marvin said. “Whether it’s summer training, weightlifting, spring and fall hockey — we don’t have anyone pulling in a different direction.”
At Breck, a private school in Golden Valley, Ronda (Curtin) Engelhardt left as coach in mid-July to coach the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women’s Hockey League. New co-head coaches Keith Radloff and Persian arrived at Breck in early October.
“It took some time, not only to get buy-in but just to learn players’ names,” Persian said. “It was a lot of, ‘What number are you?’ ”
The duo remain interim head coaches.
“Hopefully, we have done what we need to do to make these people know that we create the right culture and hopefully deliver what these kids and families are looking for,” Persian said.
Fergus Falls junior forward Jade Zierden tied a state tournament record with five assists in the consolation semifinals against Mankato East/Loyola on Friday.
A silver top six
In honor of the 25th girls’ hockey state tournament, the Minnesota State High School League name an all-tournament team for past greats. Six players were honored: Ronda Curtin (Roseville), Natalie Darwitz (Eagan), Jody Horak (Blaine), Rachel Ramsey (Minnetonka), Lee Stecklein (Roseville) and Krissy Wendell (Park Center). Joining them was South St. Paul coach Dave Palmquist.
Saturday’s two-game session had attendance of 2,798.
Herb Brooks Award
Farmington senior Jenna Gerold received the Herb Brooks Award in Class 2A for best representing the late coach’s values and character. Breck senior Katherine Solohub received the honor in Class 1A.
Class 2A: Trailing by a goal entering the third period, Minnetonka rallied for a 3-2 victory against Andover.
Class 1A: Proctor/Hermantown scored three consecutive goals and beat Mound Westonka 5-3.