With the 2020-21 season still months out, it’s time to take a look at teams from all over the State of Hockey and examine what happened this past season and what’s ahead. The next team we’re breaking down is White Bear Lake.
How last season went
If you want to see a team that had a roller coaster of a regular season, look no further than the Bears. Early on, White Bear Lake appeared poised to be in the driver’s seat for the Class 2A crown. The Bears came out of the gates roaring as they went on a nine-game unbeaten streak to open the season. That streak even vaulted the Bears to the top spot in the Class 2A coaches’ poll.
Once those nine games were complete, then things started to take a turn. White Bear Lake went 7-8-1 the rest of the way with some eye-turning losses, including one to Irondale. At point point, the Bears went on a three-game losing streak in February. At the end of the regular season, White Bear Lake had a 16-8-1 record and had a resume that included wins against Hill-Murray and Blaine.
Heading into Section 5AA play, it appeared once again that the Bears and Pioneers were poised to clash for the section crown once again. White Bear Lake was the No. 3 seed and blew past Woodbury in the quarterfinals. Then, the Bears continued their run with a 5-3 win over Stillwater in the semifinals.
Then it all came down to the section final against Hill-Murray as these two squads continued one of the state’s most infamous rivalries. After two-plus periods of play, it was knotted up at 2. Then, the Pioneers found a way to break the tie with a short-handed goal. That was enough as Hill-Murray ended White Bear Lake’s season.
Who’s back and who’s gone
The reason for expectations for the 2019-20 Bears squad was experience. That came in the form of skaters, Sam Newpower and Grant Hofeld. They were up for the challenge as they combined for 53 goals and 73 assists. Another senior, , also showed his worth by manning the net in the season’s biggest moments while posting a 1.89 goals against average and .923 save percentage.
Though the seniors made up much of White Bear Lake’s productivity,appears set to return after being the Bears’ top point-getter last season. He did so by registering 52 points (23 goals, 29 assists).
What to expect next season
It’s hard to imagine next season being as hectic as this season was for White Bear Lake. As a number of the Bears’ senior leaders depart via graduation, there will have to be new faces who are up to the challenge. Based on this program’s pedigree, expect to see White Bear Lake sticking around during the 2021 postseason.