Park’s girls hockey team has established a long line of great goaltenders, especially of late.
Last season it was then-junior Paige Press who carried much of the load, recording a .922 save percentage.
And right behind Press is the next star in waiting -- sophomore-to-be Bryce Boreen.
Boreen played more than 211 minutes in four games and tallied a .902 save percentage as the backup netminder last season.
She was just a freshman. Her best hockey is likely still in front of her.
“She’s an exceptional goalie,” Park goalie coach Mike Moline said. “She’s got great fundamentals, she’s got a work ethic that’s second-to-none. She’s just tireless when she’s out there. She’s got a huge fire in her belly to get better. She’s a self-starter. The sky's the limit for her in my eyes.”
Boreen flashed some of that potential throughout the offseason as she excelled in Reebok’s girls High Performance 15 summer camp.
Boreen competed in multiple rounds of the camp, which started with players teaming up with other members of their district for five games in the Spring Festival. Twelve districts across the state competed, with two goalies on each squad.
“I was nervous for it, because I’d never had to go up against that many goalies before,” Boreen said. “Once we got into Spring Festival I realized it’s just like another game. And I had a lot of fun with it. I played really well during it.”
Well enough that Boreen was chosen as one of the state’s top 102 15-year-olds to advance to the Summer Festival in St. Cloud.
The days in St. Cloud were filled with practices, goalie sessions and classroom time.
“Our days were packed,” Boreen said. “We got like two hours of break every day.”
After the Summer Festival’s completion Boreen was left to wait and wonder if she’d done enough to make the National Prep Camp in Blaine.
Boreen was named as an alternate, earning her the designation of national camp goalie and meaning she is one of the top-three 15-year-old goalies in the state.
“People had said I was good ... but I’d never thought of myself as being top three in the state,” she said. “It’s unreal.”
Still, Boreen might be No. 2 once again on Park’s depth chart entering the winter as Press heads into her final season with the Wolfpack.
“Even when we have very strong goaltenders that are underclassmen, there’s probably a very strong upperclassman running ahead of them,” Park head coach Steve Morse, who is also Allie Morse’s father, said.
But Boreen is still a good bet to receive some varsity ice time this winter, as she did a year ago.
“I think it’s important that they get some experience, because it’s a different pace and it’s good to help keep their rhythm intact,” Morse said. “So we work hard to get her in and get her experience.”
That experience should pay off nicely for Park whenever Boreen takes over as the primary puck stopper, as should her experience over the summer as Boreen received ample reps against some of the state’s top freshmen.
“It definitely has helped my development,” she said. “I learned a lot about how I played my own game and how I can improve that to make it to the next level.”
Boreen said mentally is where her game can improve the most, something both Moline and Morse agreed with, adding it’s a major part of the game most young netminders have to work through.
“I think that’s probably her biggest challenge,” Morse said. “Otherwise from a technique standpoint, I don’t have any doubt that she’ll grow, because she puts in the time and she puts in the effort. No concerns with that.”
Moline has worked with Boreen since she was 7-years-old. That’s been the story with many of Park’s goalies over the years.
“I know 100 percent, I would not be the goalie I am today without his coaching,” Boreen said. “He is an unreal coach. He does so much extra stuff for us. I’m so grateful for him.”
Morse said getting youngsters early work in the net has contributed significantly to the Wolfpack’s string of netminding success.
“[Moline] makes it enjoyable, he challenges them,” Morse said. “A lot of players end up playing goalie that probably shouldn’t. So the fact that they’re placed in high importance when they’re young, and they’re given great opportunities to identify whether it’s something that they want to do, I think it just ends up that the right people play goalie, and then they’re trained in an environment that’s fun and challenging and consistent. So that’s what happens. We don’t have special water or anything.”
Boreen hopes her hard work over the last eight years leads to success past the high school level. Her ultimate goal is to play for the Minnesota Gophers. And while she doesn’t want to stay too focused on the goal of going D-I, just in case it doesn’t happen, Molin also pictures her playing at the highest collegiate level.
“I see her definitely as a kid who’s going to move on and has a high potential to be that D-I level goalie,” he said.
Still, Boreen has three years left in net at Park, and she has a goal she’d like to accomplish during her time with the Wolfpack, as well.
“I want to be able to say that the first time Park is in the state tournament, it’s my name and the group of girls I grew up playing with on the roster,” Boreen said.
Whether or not Park makes it to Xcel in the coming years could hinge on the play of the young goaltender. Molin said any success Park experiences in the next few years will rest largely on Boreen’s shoulders.
“She’s going to be a huge part of our hopefully success moving on and even this year,” he said. “She’s a leader, kids look up to her, she’s well respected by her teammates and her coaches.”
Boreen wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I like being the one on the team that they can always count on, even if we’re losing” she said. “Sometimes in a game you just need that one big save, that one moment to drive some energy into the team to know that we can’t give up.”