The door has closed on the 2011-12 hockey season for the St. Louis Jr. Blues after falling 2-1 to the Granite City Lumberjacks last Monday. While any loss is hard to swallow, the Jr. Blues aren't hanging their heads. Head Coach J.P. Beilsten said, "To beat a team like Granite City once in a weekend is hard, twice is much harder."
After the round robin portion of the tournament, the Jr. Blues held the top seed in the Championship game. In three close battles, the Jr. Blues edged past Granite City 2-1, Flint 4-3, and Toledo 5-3. Granite City, on the other hand, had to forget the opening night loss in order to win the next two and force a showdown with St. Louis.
Beilsten said, "Granite City is a complete team. Big, strong, physical, great goaltending, disciplined, you name it, they have it. We had some great games with them this year and having to play them all season made us a better team and made our players better."
The season was full of success stories. Says Beilsten, "We had 3 players tendered, several players got call-ups to NAHL teams, several players had the opportunity to skate with a USHL team, all this season. Playing teams like we did, in our division and in the West, didn't give us the chance to really take any time off all season. That meant we had to work, every game, every shift and that meant our players had a chance to show higher level coaches what they could do."
Now that the championship is over, the Jr. Blues are looking to next season. Beilsten continued, "We will start new in a couple of weeks. After exit meetings, we'll take some time to rest and start with our Pre-Draft Showcase camp in May."
The Jr. Blues would like to congratulate the Granite City Lumberjacks on their championship season.