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Saints 3-Peat as D1 Champions

By Chris Middlebrook, 03/14/16, 9:15AM CDT


On Monday night February 29 the Saints Bandy Club won their third consecutive Division 1 Championship topping Tsunami 5 - 1 in the title match. 

The Saints were formed in October 2012 by Dawn Blaney and Chris Middlebrook from primarily high school students from the east metro area of St. Paul.  In their first two seasons they were undefeated champions with a record of 26-0-2.  The 2015-16 season saw an almost complete restructuring of the Saints as most of the previous players had graduated from high school and gone off to college.  The revamped team consisted primarily of University of Minnesota students.  The Saints finished regular season play in second place with a 7-3-1 record while Tsunami won the league title with a record of 8-2-1. 

The playoffs began with the U.S. Women’s National Team defeating East Isles 8-7 in overtime but then were defeated 6-0 by Tsunami in the semifinal.  The Saints were victorious over Phoenix 4-1 in the other semifinal, thus leading to the championship match vs. Tsunami.  To prepare for the game Saints coach John Magnuson and Chris Middlebrook devised a strategy to mute Tsunami’s high powered attack.  “Tsunami has a very strong back line and two very fast forwards”, Coach Magnuson summarized.  “Their strategy was the goalie throwing the ball long or their fullbacks hitting the ball up the ice to their forwards.  We knew that if we could shut down their offense that we would score enough goals to win”.  Consequently, the Saints had three fullbacks, two halfbacks and one midfield back at all times.  This strategy was successful in neutralizing Tsunami’s offense while the Saint’s powered in five goals to win the DI championship.

Coaches John Magnuson and Chris Middlebrook lauded the overall effort and discipline of all the Saints players, including Connor Propp, Roger Borgeson, Matt Wahl, Bryce Holstad, James Butler, Clayton Witta, David Kaske and Dave Stolpestad, who was named the MVP of the championship game.