TROJAN BOYS HOCKEY: Grimmius, Trojans counting on solid returning leadershipWORTHINGTON — With just two players from last year’s roster no longer on the team, first-year Trojans boys hockey coach Nate Grimmius has a lot of returning talent to work with this season.
By: Jordan Willi, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — With just two players from last year’s roster no longer on the team, first-year Trojans boys hockey coach Nate Grimmius has a lot of returning talent to work with this season.
“With our returning players, we’ve got goal scorers who we will rely on a little bit more right away until we get into the mid-season area,” Grimmius said. “At that point, I am hoping some of the younger guys can step up, too. I do know that those younger kids can put the puck in the net.”
Another advantage Grimmius has in his first year as the varsity coach is the fact that most of the players on the roster have experienced his coaching style before and know what to expect from him.
“I have been coaching bantams, so I have coached all these kids before,” Grimmius said. “Obviously, kids change year-to-year skills wise but, having coached them before, it gives you a lot better sense of who is who and where they play and how they play.”
A strength Grimmius sees in his team is that they are able to play as a group and work together to both score goals and keep pucks out of their own net.
“I think as an entire group, we are strong,” Grimmius said. “The seniors of going to lead us this year, but we have a good group of kids coming up who will contribute to the team. I think as a whole we are strong.”
With their goaltending tandem still intact from last season as well as a slew of forwards returning to power their offense, the Trojans will not be lacking in depth in either position.
“Goaltending is one of the places where we are strong this year along with our forwards, who are strong as well,” Grimmius said. “Our offensive play will be a strong point for us as well.”
With two reliable goaltenders ready for action, Grimmius feels comfortable making a change at any point in the season if one goalie should struggle.
“In hockey, you have to be able to rely on both of your goaltenders,” Grimmius said. “If one is not getting the job done, you have to be able to go to the second guy and he has to be ready for that challenge.”
One question mark Grimmius still has for this season is how consistent and effective his defensive players will be.
Worthington only returns three defensemen from last year’s team and will have just five total defensemen total on the roster. Because of this, Grimmius will have to rely on his top defensemen to eat up minutes while continuing to play strong in the defensive end.
“Defense is something we are going to have to focus on a lot this year,” Grimmius said. “We don’t have huge numbers at defense. We have a lot of forwards, but we have just five guys on defense. In order for a hockey team to have a successful year, you have to be strong defensively.”
After losing in the quarterfinals of the Class A Section 3 playoffs last season, the Trojans are hungry for another postseason berth.
“The kids are really striving and pushing to make the postseason,” Grimmius said. “If we can do that, it will be a successful year.”
If the Trojans are going to make the postseason this year, Grimmius feels they will have to play a complete game on both ends of the ice.
“I think we have to be able to play both ends of the rink,” Grimmius said. “A lot of our season is going to depend on how we play, defensively, and we have to play as a team.”
Daily Globe Reporter Jordan Willi
may be reached at 376-7335.
Boys Hockey Capsules
Coach: Nate Grimmius.
Experience: First season.
2011-12 Record: 5-17-1 overall; 1-8-1 Southwest Conference; 2-7-1 section.
2012 Postseason: Lost to New Ulm in Class A Section 3 Tournament quarterfinal.
Players Graduated: Jonah Oberloh, Ethan Stofferan.
Players Returning: Issac Kruse, Sr., F; Alex Purdy, Jr. G; Alex Thompson, Sr., F; Alex Kremer, So., F; Jacob Oberloh, Sr., F; Levi Leach, Sr., F; Sam Mills, Sr., F; Jacob Molden, Sr., D; Kody Honius, Jr., F; Zach Heidebrink, Jr., D; Rylan Scholtes, Sr., G.
New Players: Nick Newman, So., F; Andrew Johnson, So., F; Evan Gerren, So., F; Mitchell Shreiner, So., D; Rylan Baumhofner, So., D; Nathan Patten, So., F.
Strengths: The Trojans bring back a strong offensive unit along with an experienced goaltending tandem in Scholtes and Purdy. The team will not be lacking in scoring or leaders with seven forwards coming back ready to put the puck in the net on a regular basis.
Weaknesses: One weakness the Trojans have is a lack of depth at defensemen. They return three experienced defenders, but added only two more players to their blueline for a total of five. Another thing Worthington will have to work on is staying out of the penalty box.
Outlook: The Trojans hope to make it to postseason play again this year and possibly make a deeper push into the section playoffs.
Nov. 24: vs. Mankato East/Loyola, L, 4-3, OT
Nov. 27: vs. Marshall
Nov. 29: vs. Luverne
Dec. 4: vs. Redwood Valley
Dec. 6: at Windom Area
Dec. 13: at Fairmont
Dec. 15: at Waseca
Dec. 22: at Mankato East/Loyola
Jan. 4: at Sioux Center, Iowa
Jan. 5: at Morris/Benson
Jan. 8: at Marshall
Jan. 10: vs. Fairmont
Jan. 14: vs. Sioux Center, Iowa
Jan. 19: vs. Morris/Benson
Jan. 22: vs. Windom Area
Jan. 26: vs. Waseca
Jan. 29: at Luverne
Feb. 7: at Redwood Valley
Feb. 8: vs. Sioux Falls, S.D.
Feb. 19-March 1: Section Tournament
March 6-8: State Tournament
Coaches: Tony Sandbulte, Derrick Brown
Experience: 5th season, 62-33-4 overall.
2011-12 Record: 21-4-2 overall; 8-1-1 Southwest Conference; 9-1-0 section.
2012 Postseason: Lost to New Ulm in Class A Section 3 Tournament final.
Players Graduated: Austin Van Santen, Chase Hoffman, Cody Christensen, Brady Dinger, Bobby Rogers, Steven Verhey, Dylan Skattum, Jeremy Reisdorfer.
Players Returning: Kendall Meyer, Jr. G; Cole Desplinter, Sr., F; Jordan Dingmand, Jr., F; Dalton Smeins, Jr., D; Jackson Frankenhoff, Jr., F; Logan Norman, Jr., D; Travis Frakes, Jr., D; Matthew Sterrett, Sr., D; Austin Maxwell, Sr., D; Dalton Wenzel, So., F; Cole Walgrave, Jr., D; Andrew Jelken, So., F; Blake Stegenga, Jr., F; Ryan Krueger, Sr., F; Toby Sengvongxay, So., D; Johnny Solma, Sr., F; Joe Baustian, Jr., F; Gunnar Olson, Jr., F; Skyler Wenninger, Sr., F.
New Players: Andrew Verhey, So., F; Chaz Smedsrud, Fr., F; Mark Spreiter, So., D; Erik Toftland, Fr., D; Connor Hoffman, So., F; Jordan Almond, Jr., F; Jake Aukes, So., F; Joe Sommers, So., F; Connor Crabtree, So., G.
Strengths: The Cardinals return a strong core of point-producers from last season. They have also shored up their defense and hope to be much-improved from a season ago. Goalie Kendall Meyer looks to have another strong season between the pipes for Luverne, so goaltending will not be an problem.
Weaknesses: One thing the Cardinals are lacking is size. Luverne is not a big team and will try to become tougher as the season wears on. However, the Cardinals will rely on their speed to make up for their lack of size.
Outlook: Luverne looks to build on the successes of last season, while also building up their core of players so they are ready to take on their roles. As a team, the Cardinals hope to make it back to the section finals and take the next step by getting to the state tournament.
Nov. 29: at Worthington
Dec. 4: vs. Marshall
Dec. 7: vs. Redwood Valley
Dec. 8: at Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato
Dec. 11: at Fairmont
Dec. 15: vs. Morris/Benson
Dec. 18: vs. Windom Area
Dec. 26: at Schwan Cup, Blaine
Dec. 27: at Schwan Cup, Blaine
Dec. 28: at Schwan Cup, Blaine
Jan. 3: at Marshall
Jan. 5: vs. Dodge County
Jan. 8: vs. Fairmont
Jan. 11: at Mora/Hinckley-Finlayson
Jan. 12: at Princeton
Jan. 17: at Redwood Valley
Jan. 17: vs. Breckenridge/Wahpeton
Jan. 25: vs. St. Paul Johnson
Jan. 26: at Morris/Benson
Jan. 29: vs. Worthington
Feb. 2: at Dodge County
Feb. 4: at Windom Area
Feb. 8: at Hutchinson
Feb. 9: at Breckenridge/Wahpeton
Feb. 15: at Minnehaha Academy
Feb. 19-March 1: Section Tournament
March 6-8: State Tournament
WINDOM AREA EAGLES
Coach: Jon Ammerman.
Experience: Second season, 11-8-1 overall.
2011-12 Record: 11-8-1 overall; 4-5-1 Southwest Conference; 4-5-1 section.
2012 Postseason: Lost to Hutchinson in Class A Section 3 Tournament quarterfinal.
Players Graduated: Adam Eisenmenger, Mitch Baumhofer, Brett Larson, Christian Schuck, Carson Nyborg.
Players Returning: Ben Stubbe, Sr., G; Eric Haberman, Sr., D; Kyle Luhmann, Sr., D; Stuart Schumacher, Sr., F; Travis Janssen, Sr., F; Tyler McGowan, Sr., G; Tyler Presthus, Sr., D; Mitchell Macek, Jr., F; Zach Bartosh, Jr., F.
New Players: Andrew Hirsch, Jr., D; Dylan Pigman, Jr., F; Ryan Clark, Jr., F; Ryan Evers, Jr., F; Zach Ignaszewski, Jr., F; Alex Leopold, So., D; Garrett Schumacher, So., G; Devin Neilsen, Fr., F; Zach Steen, Fr., F.
Strengths: Defense for the Eagles will be one of their main strengths this season with a strong core of returning starters ready to play again this season. Another strength for Windom is the continuity of the coaching staff, which has been is in its second year of leading the team.
Weaknesses: A big weakness for the Eagles is their lack of scoring. With just four returning forwards, Windom’s young skaters will need to find a way to contribute goals early and often to find success as a team.
Outlook: After a 3-5-1 start, Windom won eight of its last 11 contests to finish three games above .500 in Ammerman’s first season guiding the Eagles. They are looking for a faster start this season.
Nov. 29: vs. Marshall
Dec. 1: at Mankato East/Loyola
Dec. 6: vs. Worthington
Dec. 8: vs. Morris/Benson
Dec. 15: at Achiever NE Academy
Dec. 18: vs. Luverne
Dec. 20: vs. Fairmont
Dec. 27: at Waseca Tournament
Dec. 28: at Waseca Tournament
Dec. 29: at Waseca Tournament
Jan. 3: vs. Redwood Valley
Jan. 5: vs. Achiever NE Academy
Jan. 12: at Morris/Benson
Jan. 15: at Marshall
Jan. 19: vs. St. Peter/LeSueur/Henderson/Tri-City United
Jan. 22: at Worthington
Jan. 25: at Becker/Big Lake
Jan. 26: at Sartell-St. Stephen
Jan. 31: at Waseca
Feb. 4: vs. Luverne
Feb. 7: at Fairmont
Feb. 12: at Redwood Valley
Feb. 19-March 1: Section Tournament
March 6-9: State Tournament