Lakers to be more seasoned
The Detroit Lakes girls' hockey team will be looking to improve on a 6-20-1 season from a year ago, and they have their top two scorers and a host of experience to accomplish it.
The Lakers struggled in the experience department last season, but with the majority of the team returning, that shouldn't a weakness this time around.
"We'll have two smaller benches for both varsity and junior varsity because of our numbers, but I think we have a great group who will go out and play with determination and improve steadily through the season," said DL head coach Dan Maloney.
The Lakers did lack some scoring punch last season, but will return their top two scorers in sophomore Brianna Seebold and freshman Callie Johnson.
Seebold led all scorers with 28 points, including 19 goals and nine assists, while Johnson contributed 20 points with eight goals and 12 assists.
"Everyone will have a fair amount of experience and we do return our leading scorers," Maloney said. "We also look for everybody to increase their production."
Returning forwards from last year's varsity squad include McKensie Nielsen, Haley Maloney, Brita Johnson, Ashley Friesen, Seebold and Callie Johnson.
The Lakers will also have several players from last year's JV team vying for playing time, as well.
The defense will have four returning defensive players coming back, including Emily Raboin, Tiffany Iverson, Alyssa Boyle and Shannon Utecht -- who can also play forward.
The Lakers' lines will be fluid during the early part of the season, as Maloney mixes and matches different players with each other to find the best combinations.
DL did lose starting goalie Winona Goettel to graduation last season, but freshman Veronica Roy returns with a sprinkle of varsity experience.
Roy played 181 minutes in 2008.
"She had a good introduction to varsity last year, and she has seen improvement over the offseason after attending some goalie camps," Maloney said. "But the biggest thing is she is a year older and being just a freshman, she'll be around for awhile."
Senior Shayna Dugger and junior Amanda Moore will start the season as the second and third goalies.
The key to the Lakers' season will be consistency, in which more offense will need to be created by all the players, Maloney said.
"We'll be playing an aggressive style of defense, but they will also be looking to score," the DL coach said.
Another key addition to the team is assistant coach Gretchen Norby, who is a graduate of DLHS and also has Division I experience after playing for St. Cloud State University.
She will join the team as a full-time assistant after being a volunteer coach last year.
"Gretchen is a wonderful addition," Maloney said. "She has a lot of things to offer with her experience and hockey ability. She has all the tools for being an outstanding coach."
The season doesn't start out easy, with a home opener Saturday (2 p.m.) against Fergus Falls, which won the section and finished as Class 1A state consolation champions in 2008.
DL will also travel to Little Falls Tuesday and host Alexandria Thursday.
(Game times 7:30 p.m. unless noted)
14 Fergus Falls 2 p.m.
17 at Little Falls 7 p.m.
21 Sartell 4:30 p.m.
24 at Moorhead 6 p.m.
1 at Park Rapids 7 p.m.
5 at Sartell 3 p.m.
8 at Wadena-Deer Creek 7 p.m.
10 at Thief River Falls
12 at Pequot Lakes 7 p.m.
15 Park Rapids 7 p.m.
21 East Grand Forks
29 at Rocori tourney
5 at Fargo South
9 at Alexandria
12 at Pequot Lakes 7 p.m.
14 W-DC 7 p.m.
16 at Fergus Falls 2 p.m.
19 Crookston 5 p.m.
22 Thief River Falls 7 p.m.
26 at Morris/Benson 7 p.m.
28 at Bemidji 7 p.m.
30 at East Grand Forks 1 p.m.
6 Morris/Benson 7 p.m.