Jim Archibald hopes what his first Brainerd Warrior boys' hockey team lacks in varsity experience it will counteract with its work ethic and feistiness.
Archibald was a skilled, hard-working, feisty standout for the University of North Dakota in the 1980s. He led the Fighting Sioux in scoring as a senior and ranks 26th in school history in scoring. He also is UND's career leader in number of penalties and penalty minutes.
Head coach: Jim Archibald, first season
2007-08 Brainerd record: 11-2-0 CLC, 17-9-1 overall
Returning players: Colby Ring (D), Tate Rusk (D), Sean Halvorson (D), Brett Jenkins (F), Jordan Posch (F), Bren Smith (F), Michael Rinio (F), Reid Mimmack (G)
Assistant coaches: Toby Kvalevog, Dave Stengrim, Jim Ernster
5: CROOKSTON, 7 p.m.
9: ALEXANDRIA, 7 p.m.
11: at St. Cloud Apollo, 7 p.m.
16: St. CLOUD TECH, 7 p.m.
18: at Sartell, 7 p.m.
20: LAKEVILLE SOUTH, 1:45 p.m.
29, 30, 31: at Schwan Cup
6: LITTLE FALLS, 7 p.m.
9: at Cloquet, 7:30 p.m.
13: FERGUS FALLS, 7 p.m.
15: at Alexandria, 7 p.m.
17: ROSEMOUNT, 1:30 p.m.
22: MOORHEAD, 7 p.m.
23: ST. CLOUD APOLLO, 7 p.m.
27: at St. Cloud Tech, 7:15 p.m.
30: at Willmar, 7 p.m.
7: ROCORI, 1:45 p.m.
10: at Moorhead, 7:30 p.m.
12: at Sauk Rapids-Rice, 7 p.m.
14: at Roseau, 3 p.m.
17: SARTELL, 7 p.m.
19: at Duluth East, 7:30 p.m.
He replaces Ty Eigner, who resigned following last season and is now associate head coach at Eden Prairie.
Only four seniors, and five others with varsity experience return. Brainerd will have to replace its offensive firepower, as its top five scorers graduated or moved to other programs.
"Obviously, the players that left, have left a fairly big hole for us," Archibald said, "but we've been challenging the boys every week. Every day we see improvement. At this point I'm not really that worried about (scoring).
"We have some very good juniors who are going to have to step up and fill the holes left by the individuals that are no longer here."
On defense, the Warriors return senior Colby Ring and juniors Tate Rusk and Sean Halvorson. Rusk had a goal and six assists, Ring a goal and five assists and Halvorson three assists.
"I think we're going to have a strong defensive corps," Archibald said. "We've got some size back there. Obviously, depending on the system we're going to use, we think that will be one of our strong points."
In goal, junior Reid Mimmack was 3-2-0 in 292 varsity minutes with a 2.97 goals-against average and 87.0 save percentage. Seniors Kyle Kostka and Lee Fiebiger are in the running for time in net.
"Our goaltending, I have no concerns with that," Archibald said. "We're looking good. We had six goaltenders that tried out. Obviously, each one of them was challenged. They knew that none of them had the starting position so they all had to work and prove themselves, prove they deserve the opportunity to start that first game (Friday against Crookston)."
First-year Brainerd Warrior boys' hockey coach Jim Archibald talked to players at practice last week. Archibald and the Warriors open at home Friday against Crookston. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Up front, Bren Smith is the leading scorer who returns. As a sophomore he had eight goals and six assists. Others who return include juniors Brett Jenkins (2-4), Jordan Posch (0-1) and Michael Rinio (2-0).
"We're going to be quick," Archibald said. "We've got some gritty forwards that like to play the body, like the boards, like the corners. Those are the battles we will have to win in order to be successful."
Archibald, a native of Canada and a former Minnesota North Star, formerly coached Midget AA boys and girls in Saskatchewan, a level he said is comparable to Minnesota High School hockey.
"From my experience, coaching is coaching," he said. "You teach the players the game, you teach them the systems, you provide them with the confidence, you give them the tools so they can improve. Then you have to let them take it from there.
"Sometimes we have to give them a little motivation, but as I tell my players, 'Motivation comes from within.'"
Seniors: Colby Ring (D), Ken Ebinger (F), Lee Fiebiger (G), Kyle Kostka (G)
Juniors: Tate Rusk (D), Sean Halvorson (D), Michael Monda (D), Brad Wolhart (D), Brett Jenkins (F), Zach Pohlkamp (F), Jordan Posch (F), Bren Smith (F), Michael Rinio (F), Reid Mimmack (G).
Sophomores: Mason Fussy (F), Josh Archibald (F).
Freshman: Matt Pohlkamp (F)
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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