Beyond the Blueline: Playing on Both Sides of the Border Strengthens Spartans

Eyewitness Sports
Updated: February 06, 2018 10:34 PM

They're the border team that really nobody likes.

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"Minnesota teams don't want to lose to us and Wisconsin teams want to beat us," said Superior head Coach Jason Kalin.

For Superior playing on both sides of the border is kind of like a blessing in disguise.

"Minnesota teams always help us. They're tough fast, very skilled, very smart hockey players and it's a learning experience for all of us," said junior forward Taylor Burger.

"Minnesota is really good and they got strong opponents. They get us ready for our Wisconsin opponents," said junior forward Cayden Laurvick. "We act like it's just another team from Wisconsin," he added.

It's also made the Spartans perennial contenders. Claiming 13 Wisconsin state titles, Superior came up just one win shy last season of the 38th state tournament appearance. Their last state title came back in 2015, but when you look at their win column this season, they've already surpassed their win total in that state championship season.

"That team, they came into the playoffs and no one really thought that they were going to do that well and they ended up winning state," said senior defenseman Blake Hanson.

"You got to see a group of guys really come together and band for one common goal. I'm hoping that this group picks up a little bit for it," said Kalin.

Coach Kalin says that character and leadership is what led that group followed by each player simply wanting to play for each other. Heading into their final game of the regular season, the Spartans already know that they've earned the two-seed headed into the section playoffs and have a pretty clear focus of what they need to work on.

"Penalties. We're kind of, I don't want to say loose cannon team, but we get a lot of mishaps in the penalty box so it would be great if we could stay out of there," said Hanson. "Back checking, blocking shots, just simple stuff is what we need to work on."

"Keep our feet moving, high tempo games, and never give up. Find a way to get that puck in the back of the net," added Burger.

Their last six game haven't gone their way, but they've seen the mighty Spartans rattle off six straight wins to win a title once before. In their minds, the season isn't over until the final horn.

"No matter what happens, we can't quit," said Laurvick.



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