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Turcotte saving his best for his senior year

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson High senior Alex Turcotte, left, skates with the puck against a Williston defender during a West Region game on Nov. 19 at Dickinson Recreation Center. Turcotte has 17 assists and 16 goals on the season.

Dickinson High’s Alex Turcotte saved his best high school season for his senior year.

The forward has 33 points — 17 assists and 16 goals — in 20 games.

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Turcotte has put up those numbers on a line that was newly fashioned at the beginning of the season. His linemates are junior Matt Pavek and sophomore Michael McChesney, who both have more than 30 points this season.

“They are awesome,” Turcotte said. “I love having them on the line. We just work really well together. We know where each is all the time.”

Pavek leads the team with 39 points — 20 goals and 19 assists — while McChesney has 21 goals and 15 assists. McChesney said the line clicked from the first practice.

“It’s a whole new line and it’s fun,” he said. “Pavek has good hands, Turcotte has the speed to go past defensemen and we’re all scorers. We don’t have just that one scorer or that one guy that steps up. We are all step up players and we’re all scorers.”

Turcotte totaled just nine goals and three assists as a junior. He didn’t score his first goal until halfway through the season. It was a time Turcotte called frustrating.

A year later and a year more mature, Dickinson first-year head coach Dallas Kuntz said he attributes Turcotte’s scoring surge to a better work ethic.

“When Alex wants to, he can be a top-six forward in the state of North Dakota,” Kuntz said. “His senior year, the thing that I’m proud of most is his work ethic. He was given the chance to play on a top line this year, and he’s taken that chance and he’s run with it.”

However, Turcotte can be his own worst enemy. The senior leads the team in penalties and penalty minutes. He has 19 penalties for 57 minutes.

Turcotte admits he doesn’t try to get penalties, but the penalty bug is one area the entire Dickinson roster has to stay away from during the West Region Tournament beginning today in Minot. The No. 6 seed Midgets play No. 3 seed Bismarck Century at 6:30 p.m.

The Midgets have accumulated 102 penalties for 278 minutes this season. Dickinson’s opponents have committed 84 penalties for 192 minutes, which is 86 minutes skating shorthanded.

“I get penalties every now and then,” said Turcotte, who is going to attend the University of North Dakota next year to major in dental science. “It’s not like I try to. One of our biggest problems this year is penalties because we get scored on during the penalty kill. That’s what we are going to focusing on during the West Region Tournament is keeping it clean and staying out of the box.”

Turcotte has also helped Dickinson enjoy its recent success as a formidable team in the West Region. This season the Midgets have picked up wins against Century and Bottineau-Rugby, which is also seeded ahead of Dickinson.

The Midgets, however, are going to have to find some consistency in the postseason. Throughout the regular season, momentous wins were followed by disappointing losses.

“The only way we’ll make it to state is to stay consistent,” McChesney said. “We need to play one good game after another.”

Whether the West Region Tournament marks Turcotte’s final high school games, he said he couldn’t imagine a better group of people to share his entire hockey career with — including his mother, Darcy.

Nonetheless, Turcotte wants to extend his high school career by reaching the state tournament.

“It’s bittersweet that this could be the last weekend of my high school career,” he said. “I just have to give it my all hopefully extend the season for one more week.”