Brainerd/Little Falls Girls Hockey Looking For A Return Trip To The State Tournament
The magic was in the air last season…or rather, on the ice for the Brainerd/Little Falls Girls Hockey team last year. The Flying Warriors became the first team from Brainerd, boys or girls, to make it to the state tournament in hockey, but can the team make it back to the Excel Center this year?
“I think the girls for sure want to get back there and get some wins,” Olivia King, Brainerd/Little Falls senior goaltender, said.
Brainerd/Little Falls lost a bunch of seniors last year, but they said if they get back to the state tournament, it will be because of their upperclassmen once again.
“It doesn’t matter what the sport is, you win with your veterans,” James Ernster, Brainerd/Little Falls girls hockey head coach, said. “We have a solid group of seniors this year and we will have a solid group of seniors next year, and they understand that you need to put in extra time over your normal practice time.”
With last year’s section championship game being decided in triple overtime, the Flying Warriors are ready for anything that is thrown at them this season.
“I think the girls definitely know when the pressure is on, but they can handle it, and it helps soothe the younger girls,” King said.
Brainerd/Little Falls may have a very experienced team coming back, but they know hard work is the only thing that will get them back to state.
“If you as a team start to take those things for granted that you are going to get there, that’s when an upset sneaks up and bites you,” Ernster said.
When Ernster took over the Brainerd/Little Falls girls hockey team, they only won two games the season before, but they have quickly gone from underdogs to top dogs after back-to-back 20-win seasons.
“These girls have to understand that every shift that every other team gives us is going to be their best shift,” Ernster said. “They want to play their best game against us.”
But opponents should be scared to travel to Brainerd, as the Flying Warriors are 26-2 in their last 28 games at home.
“It’s our home rink – we always want to defend it,” King said. “We always play a lot better at home than we do anywhere else.”
Brainerd/Little Falls will have their first chance to defend their home ice next Tuesday, December 4th, when Moorhead comes to town at 5:00 p.m.