by Bob San
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
When the Maple Grove CI adapted hockey team beat Armstrong 14-3 on Valentine’s Day, senior captain Augie Wodrich reached a milestone few athletes ever achieve.
In that game, Wodrich netted his 100th career goal to become the newest member of the 100-goal club for adapted floor hockey. He is only the third ever player to score 100 goals in both floor hockey and soccer.
“Augie is one of the most unselfish players to ever play the game,” Crimson coach Kelli Waalk said. “You think scoring 100 goals is an incredible feat, but then you see he also has over 100 assists in both sports and you realize what a truly amazing player Augie is. There are so many times when Augie could have easily scored, but instead he passed to a teammate so they could experience the joy of scoring a goal. Augie makes everyone on the team look and play better, he’s every coaches dream player.”
While Wodrich has been a soccer player most of his life and is a natural at it, the same cannot be said about floor hockey. He didn’t know what hockey was and had never even had a hockey stick in his hands until he came out for the team two years ago. Since then, he has worked hard to learn the skills and continues to improve at every practice. Wodrich gives a lot of credit to another outstanding player, alumni-coach Christian Brown, for teaching him how to play hockey. Like Wodrich, Brown was a soccer stand-out that never knew anything about hockey until he came out for the team.
“Christian taught me to lift the puck and always shoot for the corners. That’s why I score so many goals,” Wodrich said.
“Those two went head-to-head at practice every day for the past two years,” coach Waalk said. “During the first year Christian controlled the puck 90 percent of the time, but Augie kept working at it, kept trying to take it away. The second year however was a different story. Augie studied Christian’s play and was soon imitating his moves. It was 50-50 on who would take the puck away the second year. Though Christian is no longer coaching the team, he helped Augie develop into one of the all-time best players in adapted sports.”
With Wodrich leading the way, the Crimson are among the conference leaders and hope to return to the state tournament this year after losing in the play-offs last year. The Crimson are currently 4-3 on the season and continue to improve with every game.
This year’s team is led by Wodrich and fellow senior captain Lavelle Riser-Blackman, one of the top defenders in the conference, and junior Tasha Feigh. Wodrich leads the team in scoring with 23 goals while Feigh leads the team in assists with 26 dishes. Megan Thompson, Kevin Hofer and Feigh rotate at the forward position. The defense is anchored by Riser-Blackman and Feigh. Alex Kreidler and new-comer Bright Vang have also seen significant playing time this season. Returning players include Austin Rohach and Tyler Jensen. The Crimson have several first-time players including: Hofer, Vang, Aaron Clark, Jason Robins, and Paige Faber. Andy Brown and Sammy Veopradith also return to help the team as alumni-coaches this year.
The Crimson next visit White Bear Lake Thursday, Feb. 21.