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 Blake.
How last season went
Prior to this season, the Bears’ notoriety came with the girls’ program and its vast success. While that’s still the case, the boys’ program entered the fray this season with new head coach Rob McClanahan.
While it was known Blake had talent, McClanahan and his team proved themselves to be a worthy challenger. From Dec. 14 to Jan. 11, the Bears were unbeaten. That happened again two weeks later as they went on an unbeaten run from Jan. 25-Feb. 13.
The list of wins Blake racked up during the regular season was impressive. It included Andover, St. Thomas Academy, Cretin-Derham Hall, Blaine, Eden Prairie and Totino-Grace. The Bears finished the regular season with a 19-6 record while averaging 5.2 goals per game while allowing just 2.16 goals per game.
Blake managed to earn the top seed in a Section 6AA where Edina annually held that position. The Bears did not take the honor lightly, rolling past Hopkins in the quarterfinals and then cruising past the Hornets in the semifinals to earn a trip to 3M Arena at Mariucci for the Section Final.
Going for its first Class 2A state tournament appearance, Blake battled tooth and nail with Benilde-St. Margaret’s. Tied at 3 in overtime, the Bears wound up with a highly-controversial penalty shot. Blake cashed in and won to earn a spot in St. Paul.
As the No. 3 seed, Blake didn’t have it easy in the quarterfinals going up against Maple Grove. In one of the most entertaining games of the entire tournament, the Bears escaped with a 7-5 win against the upstart Crimson. Then, it was a date with Eden Prairie in the semifinals. While the goaltenders stole the show in the early goings, Blake could not match the Eagles’ offense as the Bears fell 4-1. Blake did rebound with a win against St. Thomas Academy to come home with third place honors.
Who’s back and who’s gone
had already made a name for himself already. But that name grew even bigger with his 80 points (33 goals, 47 assists) last season and has a chance to improve even more if or when he returns next season. The University of Minnesota commit earned All-Tournament honors during the state tournament and will likely be in the conversation for Mr. Hockey in 2021.
Outside of Miller, much of the Bears’ offensive attack came from seniors such as, and . They combined for 51 goals and 73 assists last season.
In net, Blake will have plenty of experience next season. Aksel Reid backstopped 26 games for the Bears last season and posted a .903 save percentage with a 2.34 goals against average. Don’t be surprised to see his name in the Frank Brimsek award talk next Spring.is also set to return after appearing in 5 games with a .933 save percentage and 1.19 goals against average.
What to expect next season
McClanahan worked his magic in just his first season of coaching high school hockey. It seems like this should just be the beginning. While there are plenty of losses, a program such as Blake should be able to reload rather than rebuild. Don’t expect this to be the last time you hear about the Bears as a state championship contender.