Dickinson boys hockey team hopes influx of depth will energize them, spark playoff runThe Dickinson boys hockey team has yet to play a game, but it is already feeling good about its chances for the 2012-13 season. For the first time in three seasons, the Midgets have a team with four full lines.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson boys hockey team has yet to play a game, but it is already feeling good about its chances for the 2012-13 season.
For the first time in three seasons, the Midgets have a team with four full lines.
“They’re four lines I could put out on the ice with confidence,” Dickinson head coach Tom Folske said.
The Midgets hope an influx of talented younger players and several experienced returners from last season help them shake off the last two seasons in which they had a combined 5-39 record. Dickinson didn’t beat a North Dakota opponent last season while finishing 3-19 overall.
Folske said there will be no more players skating up to 45 minutes in a 51-minute game.
“They’re going to be able to go out, have a full shift, come out and be able to recover and go out for the next shift instead of having to continuously go out on the ice sheet,” Folske said. “In past years, it was almost more survival than it was anything else.”
Senior goaltender Jamie Gray, an assistant captain who shared starting duties with Matt Porter the past two seasons, is hoping to see some benefits from having a fully stocked lineup. Gray gave up an average of 6.8 goals per game last season while making 301 saves — 41 per game.
“It definitely makes my job a lot easier,” Gray said. “I see a lot less shots and the puck’s on the other end a lot. It gives our team a lot more confidence because we’re going to be able to make more plays happen because we’re not going to be as tired.”
Senior captain Brendin Steiner, who had a team-high 12 goals last season, said adding six sophomores and two freshmen to the varsity team this year has already helped the team, if only in a practice sense.
Folske said many of the younger players have the talent to be on the ice against the best from the West Region too.
“It’s going to be huge,” Steiner said. “They all know how to play the game. They’ve all been students of the game their whole life. They’ve really put in the work and it shows. They’ve been coming together really well in practice and getting adjusted to the speed of the game.”
Dickinson returns a handful of experience at the forward position with Steiner, senior assistant captain Jayden Mink, junior Alex Turcotte and sophomore Kass Dvorak. The latter three combined for seven goals and 13 assists last season. Seniors Austin Krank and Trevor Coates and junior Tim Knudson are back at defenseman.
Sophomores Mickey Folske, Andrew Heckaman, Gannon Karsky, Matt Pavek and freshman Mike McChesney add depth at forward while sophomores Collin Bren and Tony Kostelecky and freshman Tate Martel help shore up three lines of defenseman.
“It’s a real mix, who’s playing with who. That’ll bring everybody’s game up a notch,” Tom Folske said. “Having Trevor Coates and Austin Krank back on defense is going to help quite a bit. To help those younger kids there get used to the speed of the game.”
Perhaps the Midgets’ biggest task, however, is finding ways to the puck in the net.
Mink said the added depth has already showing the team that it could be better at doing that this season.
The Midgets had 33 goals last season and were shut out seven times. They scored just 31 goals in 2010-11 and had eight shutout losses.
“We’ve been working on it since we started practicing,” Mink said. “Our lines that we have right now work pretty good together. I think we’ll be a high-scoring team.”
At a recent practice, Folske handed each of the players a sticky note and asked them to write down their goals for where the team wanted to finish in the West Region.
The lowest place he got was third.
“We’re definitely shooting high,” Steiner said.
The Midgets open their season against West Region opponent Williston at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Dickinson Recreation Center.
The Coyotes ended Dickinson’s 2011-12 season with a 3-1 victory in the West Region Tournament’s play-in game. Steiner said the Midgets are hoping for a hot start tonight.
“We could definitely make a statement right away,” Steiner said. “We got teams that we’ve definitely been able to compete with in the past. Getting a few points to start the season would definitely give us a lot of confidence back that we could play with the elite teams in the (West Region).”
Head coach: Tom Folske (fifth season)
Assistant coaches: Barry Kraiter, Landon Leiss, Brad Willer, Brian Lee.
Last season: 3-19 (0-16 West Region); lost to Williston 3-1 in West Region Tournament play-in game.
Season opener: vs. Williston, 7:30 p.m. today at Dickinson Recreation Center.
Returners: Brendin Steiner, Jr., D, 5-9 (12 goals, 2 assists in 2011-12); Jayden Mink, Sr., F, 6-2 (4 goals, 1 assist); Jamie Gray, Sr., G (0-7, 86 save percentage, 301 saves); Austin Krank, Sr., D, 5-9 (1 goal, 3 assists); Trevor Coates, Sr., D, 6-4 (1 goal, 1 assist); Alex Turcotte, Jr., F, 6-0 (2 goals, 3 assists); Tim Knudson, Jr., D, 6-2 (1 goal, 2 assists); Dan Honcharenko, Jr., F, 6-1 (1 goal); Trevor Olheiser, Jr., F, 6-0 (1 goal, 1 assist); Kass Dvorak, So., F, 5-9 (1 goal, 9 assists)
Newcomers: Brett Schweitzer, Jr., G, 6-1; Mickey Folske, So., F, 6-2; Andrew Heckaman, So., F, 6-3; Collin Bren, So., D, 6-3; Gannon Karsky, So., F, 6-0; Matt Pavek, So., F, 5-9, Tony Kostelecky, So., D, 5-11; Tate Martel, Fr., D, 5-11; Mike McChesney, Fr., F, 5-9.
Lost: Michael Porter, F (6 goals, 9 assists); Matt Porter, G (1-12, 87.5 save percentage, 419 saves), Dan Sullivan, F (2 goals), Bo Schmidt, F, Jake Hoffer, F/D (1 goal, 1 assist).