Minnesota high school Morris/Benson lost 12-0 in their season opening game to Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato last weekend. That’s plenty bad enough, until you see their goalie Tony Bruns also had to make 98 saves.
That is apparently enough for both a state and national record, and also means Bruns (a four-year starter for Morris/Benson, seen in this game above in a photo from Mike Randleman of The Litchfield Independent Review) faced 110 shots in 60 minutes of hockey.
“I was a little surprised,” Bruns told Loren Nelson of MN Hockey Hub. “My whole career I’ve had a lot of shots, but never that many. I thought it was just like any other game.”
Just like any other game is a nod to the fact Bruns usually has to save an abnormally large amount of shots every game, which he recounts could be anywhere between 40 and 70 in a normal game. Keep in mind that most NHL goalies would be standing on their head if they saved 40 in any one game, and that’s usually a rank outlier.
After some digging, the folks at Minnesota Hockey Hub found that the state record on the books was a 76 save performance in 2008 by Spencer Thiels of River Lakes and Gage Mohelsky who stopped the same number in a 2012 game. The record for the entire country apparently is from Michigan in 1987, where Jamey Ramsey stopped 84 shots. So Bruns beat the state record by 22 saves and the national record by 12. All in regulation!
“There is no doubt he was busy,” his coach Jeremiah Day said. “After a while as a coach you lose track of how many saves he has.”
Bruns did mention to Day he was abnormally sore after the game, though, and Day soon realized why when he looked at the scoresheet.
“I actually had a question about a penalty at the end of the game, so that was why we were looking at the scoresheet on the way home,” Day said. “And then we saw the save total and thought, ‘Oh my, what is going on, is that some sort of record?’”
In case you were wondering, Bruns’ old record for saves was 75 in a 12-0 loss to the same team last year. His program has steadily been losing players over the past couple of years, and the team he was facing is one of the favorites for a state title. Morris/Benson had only 11 skaters for the game, and three are new to hockey (you’re supposed to have 18 skaters normally).
That’s not the record you normally want to set, but it’s a silver lining in what’s looking like a long season for the Morris/Burns Storm. Another fun fact: Bruns also runs cross-country and plays golf. Both of those sports involve less hard rubber being shot at you…