Updated: 02/24/2014 5:29 PM
Created: 02/22/2014 9:42 PM KSTP.com
By: Chris Long
Their starting goalie is an 8th-grader. They had to recover from the graduation of last year's Ms. Hockey and two key player injuries during the playoffs. They needed double overtime to win their State Semifinal and overcame an early two-goal deficit in the State Championship. No, the Blake Bears' road to a record 5th State Girls Hockey Championship was not easy.
Blake's 3-2 win over top-seed East Grand Forks was the crowning achievement in a season full of overcoming obstacles.
Sylvie Wallin's two third-period goals tied and won the game, giving Blake back-to-back Class A State Girls Hockey titles - and a state-best five overall titles. They had been even with South Saint Paul at four titles.
Wallin's third period goals came after Carly Bullock's 50th goal of the season got Blake on the board mid-second period.
East Grand Forks had raced out to an early lead when sisters Haley and Alexa Mack struck in the first period.
Blake's 8th-grade keeper Anna Kruesel made 29 saves in earning the win - none more spectacular than shutting down Alexa Mack at pointblank range that prevented EGF from taking a 3-1 lead.
Madi Galstad made 21 saves for the Green Wave.
Bullock, whose six goals in the tournament led all skaters, picked up the slack left by two key injuries in the Bears lineup. Co-leading scorer Karlie Lund was lost to an injury in sectionals and Jordan Chancellor was injured during State.
The entire team's season-long effort results in a 23-7-1 title run one year removed from graduating - among others - Ms. Hockey Award winner Dani Cameranesi.