Not only is St. Paul United senior Catherine Johnson one of the best goalies in the state — she’s a finalist for the Let’s Play Hockey Senior Goalie of the Year award and has signed with Minnesota Duluth — she’s also an accomplished water skier.
In the offseason, Johnson skis for the Prior Lake-Shakopee Shockwaves, a team that puts on water ski shows across the Midwest.
“My dad taught me to ski when I was 3,” Johnson said. “It’s an incredible passion of mine.”
Johnson, a member of the team for eight years, says her devotion to hockey has cut into her skiing time: “It’s hard to balance skiing with hockey because I’m trying to take hockey more seriously.”
Johnson said skiing makes her more nervous than playing goalie.
“I’m used to pressure in hockey,” she said. “I’m not afraid of anything hurting me there. If you’re on a [water ski] pyramid and fall forward, you never really know what can happen.”
Big solo performance
Luverne’s Madilyn Oye had more to be nervous about than a hockey game Wednesday night.
Before Luverne’s quarterfinal game against Blake, Oye was busy with another kind of performance — singing the pregame national anthem in front of the small crowd at the Xcel Energy Center.
Then, fresh off a solid rendition, Oye skated out with Luverne’s first line. Her team lost to Blake 10-0.
Oye had two goals and 11 assists this season. And though it doesn’t show up on the stats sheet, she can add a national anthem performance at the Xcel Energy Center.
Spirited in defeat
Leaving the podium after his postgame news conference, Northfield coach Brett Bielenberg made a point to say, “How about that Northfield crowd, huh?”
Raiders fans filled up an entire section of Xcel Energy Center, making an impression on Warroad coach Dave Marvin and his players.
“Tip your cap to Northfield a little bit,” he said. “That was maybe the biggest following I’ve seen at the tournament the six years I’ve coached here. That was pretty awesome.”
Quieting the Northfield cheering section, complete with its large pep band, was an area of focus for the Warroad players.
“Having their student section go quiet when we scored really helped us,” forward Demi Gardner said.
It’s all semantics
Warroad junior forward Mariah Gardner, the Warriors’ leading scorer with 34 goals and 52 assists going into the tournament, assisted on both of older sister Demi’s second-period goals. Business as usual.
So it was a surprise to those gathered in the postgame news conference to see Gardner sporting a bright purple cast on her left arm, an injury Marvin had downplayed before the tournament.
“The secret’s out now,” said Marvin as he and the Gardner sisters left the press room. “Our leading scorer has a broken arm.”
Tongue firmly in cheek, Marvin corrected himself, owing to being in the arena that is home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
“I mean upper-body injury.”
The afternoon attendance was announced as 2,458, the largest ever for a Class 1A quarterfinal afternoon session.. The night attendance was announced as 1,834 for a one-day total of 4,292.