Blaine senior goaltender Tara Hoverstad has a confession.
"I absolutely love getting a lot of shots," she said. "Seriously. For some reason, in the games I don't get as many shots I'm not as focused. But I don't want to tell my team that."
Hoverstad then laughed, easy to do considering her sharp performance to open the season. She stopped 47 of 50 Edina shots in a 3-3 tie with the two-time Class 2A runner-up.
Hoverstad is the latest in a proud lineage of standout Bengals goaltenders. She follows five players who went on to Division I programs: Dauphine Barnes (class of 1993), Katie Beauduy, ('99), Jody Horak (2001), Kim Hanlon ('05) and Ashley Nixon ('06). Hoverstad is undecided on her college plans.
"Blaine is known for goalies," Bengals coach Steve Guider said. "There's an expectation."
Hoverstad spoke to Star Tribune reporter David La Vaque about the Edina game, visualizing success and why no shot should ever get past her.
Q How have you thought about the Edina game in terms of what you can take from it and use the rest of the season?
A Well, that game just tells me that we really do have an amazing team this year. I felt like we played really well as a team for that being the first game of the season. And I felt like that was a good start for me because in past seasons I haven't had the best first games.
Q Coach Guider said the same thing -- that you started a little slow last year. How are you trying to avoid that from happening again?
A I guess I have much better visualization skills than I did last year. I did a lot of that before the Edina game. I spent the whole day thinking about hockey. I went to the Anoka game to get in the zone and then I went straight to our game and watched the JV game. I was always thinking about hockey, the game and situations.
Q Did making all 19 saves in the first period show you the payoff?
A It did. When I went to the locker room, everyone was like 'awesome job.' I was ecstatic but I was trying to keep from getting out of my zone.
Q There's a tremendous goaltending tradition at Blaine, and one of those former stars, Kim Hanlon, is your coach. What's it like working with her?
A I've looked up to her since I was little. I would see her playing at Gophers games. She really helps me female-to-female because she knows how I feel. I remember last year she told me to play for what was on my chest -- the Blaine logo. When she says something to me, I take it to heart.
Q Coach Guider asks his goalies to stop 100 percent of the easy shots, 85 percent of the difficult shots and 60 percent of the impossible shots. How are you grading out so far?
A I don't really consider anything impossible. I look at each of those goals [against Edina] and in my head I saw myself making the saves. If I would have gotten my foot just an inch further over I would have made two of those saves.
Q Is there any danger in such high expectations for yourself? Do you have to just let it go at times?
A Yeah, that game is over and I'm thinking about our next game. I try to learn from every mistake, those saves where I could have been a millisecond faster, so that I'm that much faster next time.
David La Vaque • 612-673-7574