With two of its top three scorers, and seven other returning letterwinners, look for the Little Falls Flyers to be back in contention for the Section 4, Class 1A crown in 2004-05.
Back are Steven Festler and Mikael Lickteig. The senior forwards helped the Flyers to a 14-14 overall record and a 7-4 section mark last season.
Festler led the Flyers with 25 goals and 26 assists. Seven of his goals were on power plays.
Lickteig was the third-leading scorer with 17 goals and 27 assists. Five of his goals were on power plays.
Other forwards back are juniors Joey Cotton (4 goals, 11 assists), Zach Beattie (3-4) and senior Kyle Barnes (1-2).
Defensemen back are Jim Bender (1-4), Adam Boser (1 goal), TJ Ringwelski (1 assist), Butch Rakow (1 goal).
Returning players: Steven Festler (25 goals, 26 assists), Mikael Lickteig (17-27), Joey Cotton (4-11), Zach Beattie (3-4), Kyle Barnes (1-2), Jim Bender (1-4), Adam Boser (1 goal), TJ Ringwelski (1 assist), Butch Rakow (1 goal)
Others: Freshmen forwards Jared Festler and Beau Hanowski, sophomore forward Lukas Jorgensen and junior goalie Jake Kluver.
Key: With two of the top scorers in the section returning, offense won't be a problem.
The Pequot Lakes Patriots have a new coach and a new system, but familiar faces return.
Of those returning is Bryant Szymanski. The junior was second on the team last year with 13 goals and 11 assists. Also back is senior Allen Bittner, who tallied 7 goals and nine assists.
"We think we're as good a team that has been on the ice here if not better," said Pequot head coach Pete Sauer. "We are not a rebuilding team. We've made a lot of changes but this is not a pacifying year. We're in the game."
Also back are Chris Hardie, Matt Fraser, Nathan Geike, Shawn Carraway, Mike Pitan, Nick Makowsky and Joey Dumond.
Filling out the squad are juniors Max Mraz, Derric Burt and Nate Larson and sophomores Kevin Bergquist, Travis Nelson and Willie Hollinbeck.
In goal will be Bryce Szymanski. As a sophomore he played 687 minutes and finished with 429 saves and a save percentage of 87.7.
Returning players: Bryant Szymanski, Allen Bittner, Chris Hardie, Matt Fraser, Nathan Geike, Shawn Carraway, Mike Pitan, Nick Makowsky, Joey Dumond, Bryce Szymanski
Others: Max Mraz, Derric Burt, Nate Larson, Kevin Bergquist, Travis Nelson and Willie Hollinbeck.
Key: Adapting quickly to a new system
Simply put, it can't get any worse for the Crosby-Ironton/Aitkin Grizzlies boys' hockey team.
Last year C-I/A finished 0-21 overall, 0-8 in Section 4, Class 1A.
Pat Brophy and Brian Burman earned All-Section 4 honorable mention last year. Burman, a senior forward, was the team's second-leading scorer with 4 goals and six assists. Brophy scored one goal and had six assists from his defense position.
Also back are seniors Brandon Laffin (6 goals, 1 assist) and Tom Weimer (4-6).
Weimer and sophomore Alex Brown will handle the goaltending. Brown played 187 minutes and allowed 43 goals.
Also back are seniors Ross MacFarland and Travis Williams, juniors Sam Beseres and Zack Engen and sophomore Quaid Schaumburg.
Newcomers are sophomores Markous Henrichs, Nick Belz and freshmen Travis Weimer and Justin Grecula and eighth graders Max Engen and Derik Midthun.
Returning players: Seniors Brian Burman (4 g, 6 a), Pat Brophy (1 g, 6 a), Brandon Laffin (6 g, 1 a), Tom Weimer (4 g, 6 a), Ross MacFarland, Travis Williams; Juniors Sam Beseres (2 g) and Zack Engen (3 g, 2 a); Sophomores, Quaid Schaumburg, Alex Brown.
Others: Sophomores Markous Henrichs and Nick Belz, freshmen Travis Weimer and Justin Grecula and eighth graders Max Engen and Derik Midthun.
Key: Gaining confidence early after winless 2003-04 season.
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