“It’s a fine line,” Esse said. “If you play too many teams at lower levels you won’t be tested, and if you play too many hard teams and don’t have success that can lead to negativity. We have a nice balance, but hopefully Denfeld is a game where we can assert ourselves a little bit.
“I’m very proud of how the girls competed,” she said. “You can talk about numbers and rankings but I’m proud of the way these kids act and play each shift. Now they are seeing some success, which they deserve.”
tournament game, a 6-2 loss to Rice Lake. “The kids spent some time figuring out who Rice Lake had played and who we had played and who beat who by how much, and then they were up 5-0 on us in the first period,” he said. “But we won the last two periods and the kids started to buy in to some things.”
Some coaches refer to it as “basketball shape.” Football players are shorter and very sharp, and the transition required from five to 10-second bursts to four to five-minute bursts can be daunting.
But the end goal, as Sorenson closes out his head coaching career this winter, is to get to state. “It’s going to be very difficult,” he said. “But we’d like to get both our boys and girls teams there. They can do it.”
For tournament purposes, the ’Jacks lost during the three-on-three overtime session used to break ties, but the regulation game — which counts in the standings — was a 6-6 draw that was as entertaining a high school hockey game as you’ll ever see.
“It was great to rally, and it was great to come from behind to get that win,” Costley said. “We needed a win and it gave the kids some confidence.”
CEC never trailed after that point. Kiana Bender made it 4-3 in the third period only to see Lauren White force overtime with 51 seconds left before Nelson's overtime winner. The Fighting Saints scored three goals on eight first-period shots but only one on 19 shots after that, as CEC’s defense tightened in front of goaltender Erin Genereau.
But while the ’Jacks didn't play to expectations, Esse doesn't believe the final score was reflective of the level of play in the game. "I don't think they are five goals better than we are, but we did not play well at all and they did," he said. "The odd-man rushes we gave up, the way we played, it wasn't good, but we came back well.”
“We have holes and injuries but we have the people in place so when the time comes they’ll be ready,” Denman said. “We’ll have a 220-pound wrestler, Devin Reynolds is one of the top heavyweights in the state, Dylan Lauer is a large 220, and we’re building up guys who aren’t yet up to competitive scratch because when you lose, how you lose matters. It’s three team points if you lose by a decision but six if you get pinned, so you can save your team points and that can win a dual meet.”