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Lakers post potent attack and 17 wins in 2013-14

The Laker of (L to R) Tanner Steele, Michael Herrmann and Ryan DeConcini skate off the ice after a Detroit Lakes’ goal. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

The ability to find the net became a strength for the Detroit Lakes boys’ hockey team, as they skated their way to an impressive 17-8-1 record.

The Lakers busted out a potent first line in which collected a total of 145 points, led by sophomore center Jon Richards’ 55 points and followed by junior Ryan DeConcini’s 53 and senior Wilson Lysford’s 37 points.

Richards had 22 goals and 33 assists, while DeConcini had a 24-29 line and Lysford, 14-23.

“We had a lot of speed and they clicked from the start,” said DL head coach Chris Denardo. “There were a lot of dynamic players who worked well together, including our second and third lines, which had good seasons, as well.”

The Lakers were able to put together a strong second half of the schedule, which included winning eight of their last 10 games, not including a quarterfinal playoff win over Kittson Central.

“I think we surprised some people,” Denardo said. “We kind of struggled there in the first four or five games, but we knew it was going to take a couple of weeks to get our attack down.”

But once the Lakers started finding the nylon, the pressure lifted off of the defense and junior goalie MacKenzie Steele, who finished with an 89.9 save percentage and a 10-7-1 record.

DL also added depth at the goalie position with the play of sophomore Austin Fritz, who went 6-0-0 with a 91 save percentage mark.

“It was a good thing for MacKenzie to have Austin pushing him and it also gave him an opportunity to take a rest once in a while,” Denardo said. “MacKenzie’s maturity showed through this season.”

For Richards, who exploded on the scene in his first varsity season, he will find more opportunity next year with DeConcini coming back to form a strong line again.

“Jon’s skill level is fantastic and his skill set helped him transition to the varsity level,” Denardo said. “Defenses also couldn’t just focus on Jon, because Ryan would make them pay and Wilson also was a crafty and creative forward on that line.”

Senior Michael Herrmann also hit double digits in goals, with 10, to finish the season with 24 points. Junior Jonathan Hallisey also had 10 goals.

With six years of head coaching the Lakers, which produced 78 wins and double-digit victories in all but one of his seasons, Denardo will be focusing on his family and his own kids and resigned his coaching duties after this season was completed.

“I knew I was going to resign back in November, because I have already missed half of my kids’ youth hockey playing days,” Denardo said. “That is the sole reason why I resigned; it’s not due to anything else. I’ve been coaching high school hockey now for 17 years and it’s time to pay more attention to my kids playing.

“It was a great six years and my goal was to get the program back on track, including the youth program, and I feel I did just that. I can’t be any happier with how things turned out.”

The 2013-14 Detroit Lakes boys’ hockey seasons stats

Record: 17-8-1

Laker scoring stats (g-a-pts): Jon Richards 22-33-55; Ryan Deconcini 24-29-53; Wilson Lysford 14-23-37; Michael Herrmann 10-14-24; Casey Paskey 5-14-19; Jonathan Hallisey 10-9-19; Tanner Steele 2-12-14; Taylor Johnson 6-7-13; Jacob Fritz 5-6-11; Sam Boomgarden 6-4-10; Joe Solberg 3-5-8; Josh Bollig 2-6-8; Brandon Olson 4-3-7; Jacob Anderson 2-4-6; Brady Crawford 3-3-6; Dylan Bremseth 0-3-3; Cooper Heimark 0-3-3; Ben Nelson 1-2-3; Andrew Dahl 0-2-2; Tyler Berby 0-1-1; MacKenzie Steele 0-1-1.

Goalie stats (W-L-T-SOG-SV-SV Perct.) – MacKenzie Steele 10-7-1-514-462-89.9; Austin Fritz 6-0-0-133-121-91.0.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.