Blazing Cats’ streak of state titles halted

New Prague wins adapted floor hockey tourney

Steve Friday of Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville leans into a shot at the state adapted floor hockey tournament. The Blazing Cats were runners-up in the CI Division. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

Steve Friday of Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville leans into a shot at the state adapted floor hockey tournament. The Blazing Cats were runners-up in the CI Division. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

First, Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville had to get over the shock of not winning the state championship.

Reaching the mountaintop is something to which the Blazing Cats had grown accustomed, so when it didn’t happen Saturday afternoon at the state adapted floor hockey tournament, some of the players were visibly upset. Before long, they got over it and realized second place is a noteworthy accomplishment too.

“They’re not used to losing. Most of these kids won state championships in soccer and softball,” Blazing Cats coach Dave Diehl said shortly after his team’s 9-7 loss to New Prague/Tri-City United/Le Sueur-Henderson/Belle Plaine/Jordan in the CI Division championship game at Bloomington Jefferson High School.

“(Saturday) was the third time we played New Prague and each time we got better,” Diehl said.

The Blazing Cats were second at the state tournament for the second consecutive year. In 2013 they lost to North Suburban 7-6 in the state final. Last spring Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville won the softball tournament for the program’s first adapted sports title, then took first in the soccer tournament last fall.

The Blazing Cats had trouble dealing with New Prague forward Matthew Schoenbauer – and they had a lot of company at the state tournament. Schoenbauer scored six goals in the championship game after scoring seven in his team’s semifinal victory. “He’s probably the best player I’ve seen,” Diehl said.

Senior forward Steve Friday scored four goals for the Blazing Cats in the state final, including three in the third period as he tried to get his team back in the game.

Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville got some revenge against North Suburban in the state semifinals Saturday morning, beating the defending champion 8-1. Friday and junior forward Michael Burns scored all their team’s goals, and sophomore goalie Cody Bali made 20 saves.

Friday had seven goals and three assists in the Blazing Cats’ 13-1 victory over Maple Grove in the first round Friday night. Burns had three goals and an assist and senior defender Terry Kalm had three assists.

Bali, Friday and Burns were named to the all-tournament team.

Eight of the 14 players on the Blazing Cats’ state tournament roster are seniors. Many of them will try to win another state championship this spring during the adapted softball season.

As for next year’s floor hockey tourney, “it’s going to be a challenge to get back here,” Diehl said. “We’ll have a lot of new players. But I hope we can do it.”

up arrow