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Warrior Hockey Finishes with Highest Ranking in History; Still Have Unfinished Business.

Berry Evens Center hockey arena. Photo by Damon Hlegevold

Berry Evens Center hockey arena. Photo by Damon Hlegevold

By Damon Helgevold

Waldorf Warrior Hockey has had the best season in school history if you look at the rankings. In the final ACHA poll the Warriors finished 8th. That rank gave the Warriors a boost into the Regional tournament and the opportunity to play into the National tournament.

“This is one of the goals that the team set for itself back in August. To see the guys have this opportunity is exciting. They have worked the whole season for this to put themselves in a position to play for a National Championship, so it’s a fun time of year. It is good to see the guys earn this and know that they can be successful with it,” Head Coach Brett Shelanski says about this chance on such a big stage.

Hard work and the physical preparation the team had to do has given them this chance and they look to take full advantage of the opportunity at hand. They know that now they finish in the top forty of all teams in the nation and take that with great pride as Shelanski explains, “The whole year and all of the work they put in and the ups and downs of the season lead up to this. Though the team’s goals extend beyond this weekend, it’s always fun to have the chance to be one of the last 40 teams in the country standing at the end of the season out of 190. You realize how many teams don’t get this opportunity and how difficult it is to get to this point. We want to make the most of it and be as successful as possible.”

Not only is Coach ready for this weekend but so are the players.

“It means a great deal because we are, in my eyes, an under ranked team, but to be selected again to go to the tournament is a true honor. I have been on all three teams that have made it to the regional tournament, but the team now I feel like we have a way better chance,” Junior Alex Fleming claims.

Junior Spencer Johnson isn’t just looking to have the opportunity but end a streak that has haunted the Warriors in recent years, “We’re very excited about the opportunity, but we are also mindful of losing the first game the past two years, so we look to end that against Lindenwood.”

Waldorf takes on Lindenwood this weekend and Saturday wouldn’t be the first time these two face off. The last weekend of the regular season the two had a weekend doubleheader in Albert Lea. Lindenwood came out on top both times.

Coach Shelanski looks at this chance as a positive for his team, “We see it as a positive from the standpoint that we have been able to prepare specifically for an opponent that we are familiar with. It helps with the game plan and some minor adjustments that we think we can make to give ourselves the best chance to be successful. On the flip side, we don’t want to change our own game too much because we still have to go out and do what we do best and make sure that we still play to our own strengths.”

An 11am puck drop in Rolling Meadows, Illinois on Saturday for the Warriors as they take on #5 Ranked Lindenwood.