Boys hockey: Luverne players are among state leaders
LUVERNE —The Luverne boys hockey team is off to a spick-and-span 9-0 record after defeating Worthington Thursday night. The Cardinals have a senior group of 11 to go with a large group of other contributors from other classes.
Amongst the top of the crop for the Cardinals, through their first nine games, have been sophomore Chaz Smedsrud, senior Logan Norman and eighth-grader Jaxon Nelson.
Norman, a forward on the ice for Luverne, has eight goals and 23 assists for the season. His 31 points are tied for second statewide by the Star Tribune’s Boys Hockey Hub.
Norman scored two goals and three assists against Windom Area on Tuesday night. In their previous game, a 12-1 win over Morris/Benson, Norman posted two goals and a quartet of assists.
“Logan is a senior and he has improved every year. He is our captain and to see him improve like he has over time is something we had hoped for,” Luverne boys hockey coach Derrick Brown said on Thursday. “Logan did a lot of work over the summer and it is really working out for him.”
Nelson has made more than his share of hay for the Cardinals for being such a youngster. The young forward has 31 points to his name, which is also good enough for a tie for second place in Minnesota.
“Jaxon is a special player and has great skill that is far above his age,” Brown said of Nelson. “He has been huge for us this year. For him to step into the varsity lineup and not be scared speaks volumes to who he is.”
Smedsrud currently leads his team and the state in points scored. His 34 points scored through the team’s first eight games include 14 goals and 17 assists. He had a strong freshman season a year ago and has picked up where he left off.
“Chaz led all freshmen last year in points and then played in a fall elite league. He has come in with mid-season form,” Brown said. “He has had some big games for us where he has scored four or five goals. He has a unique ability to be patient with the puck and he finds his spots.”
The team has had close games through the first half of their season against Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato and Minnehaha Academy. Both were wins, while the others have come in much more convincing fashion. The team will compete starting Dec. 27 at the Schwan Cup tournament in Marshall. Brown feels that, once they face some teams there, they will know their identity and where they stand.
“That will give us some idea as to where we’re at,” Brown said. “It has been a team effort so far. We can roll three lines each game, and that has been great.”