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Prep notebook: Midgets are lacking defense

Heading into the season Ryan Love predicted his Dickinson High girls hockey team would be strong defensively, but weak on the offensive end. With two returning defensemen and his top two goal scorers from a year ago gone, his prediction seemed valid.

Heading into the season Ryan Love predicted his Dickinson High girls hockey team would be strong defensively, but weak on the offensive end.

With two returning defensemen and his top two goal scorers from a year ago gone, his prediction seemed valid. However, the start of the 2007-08 season has been just the opposite.

"It's been a little bit of a surprise," Love said. "We've been able to generate more offense that I thought we would, which is a very positive thing going on there."

The Dickinson defensive performance has not been a pleasant surprise, though, as the Midgets (1-4-2) have surrendered 42 goals in seven games.

Offensively, Dickinson has only put 21 pucks past its opponents, which isn't offsetting its lack of defense.

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After tying Devils Lake 6-6 last Friday, the Midgets dropped a 7-3 contest at Minot on Saturday. In the loss, Dickinson gave up four odd-women rushes that resulted in goals. To Love, that kind of breakdown can not be traced back to just the defensemen, he said.

"None of our forwards are back checking to help the defense and picking up that weak-side wing that's busting in for a rebound or a pass," Love said.

"It's not team hockey right now."

The Midgets will play back-to-back games this weekend at the Dickinson Recreation Center. Dickinson hosts West Fargo at 7 p.m. on Friday and Fargo South at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

West Fargo is new to the league this year. Last year, it was part of a co-op with Fargo North.

"From what I've heard talking to other coaches is they are not the most skilled team that you're going to face but they will out hustle and out work you," Love said.

Midget boys seeking some fire, desire

After starting the season 2-0, the Dickinson High boys hockey team has been winless in its last three games, including an overtime loss and tie.

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To combat the early lapse, head coach Dave Hanneman is expecting his team to have a chip on its shoulder for the rest of the season and to play a "ticked off" brand of hockey.

"We have the talent to finish in the top of the West Region if we want to but we need to be physically and mentally tough," Hanneman said.

"The toughness has to pick up across the board from the goalie on out."

The Midgets (2-2-1 overall, 1-2-1 West Region) have struggled mightily on the power play this season with their biggest low coming in a 2-2 tie at Williston.

Dickinson went on the power play twice during the extra period and during the four minutes - half the overtime - with a man advantage, the Midgets put zero shots on goal.

"When it came to overtime, we didn't come out and finish," Hanneman said. "In the last two overtimes, we've been looking for stuff to be to pretty and what not. It's got to be a highlight-reel goal."

Dickinson High hosts Minot (1-3-1, 1-0-1) at 7 p.m. tonight at the Dickinson Recreation Center and Bottineau (0-4-0, 0-2-0) at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday in West Region action.

Wrestling teams gearing up for Dickinson Classic

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Can the Dickinson Classic wrestling tournament rival the prestigious Bismarck Rotary in any way?

Maybe.

As true as it is that the Rotary is one of the biggest tournaments in the Midwest, the Classic is nothing to shake a stick at.

This year's 19-team field includes teams from four states including Minnesota.

"It'll be a good showing," Dickinson coach Cody Wolf said. "The finals should be nice."

The Midgets are in the midst of an early-season struggle in which they have had to deal with numerous injuries and other happenings.

"We're sitting pretty light," Wolf said. "We've ran into some problems. We're going to be open at four weight classes."

Not only is Dickinson forfeiting certain weight classes, a few of the spots that are filled contain junior varsity wrestlers.

"We've got a lot of kids that are really raw right now," Wolf said.

A tournament on your home floor could be just what the doctor ordered for Dickinson. The Midgets have traditionally done well at the Classic.

"The kids wrestle up to their potential at this tournament," Wolf said.

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