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Willmar Cardinals Boys Hockey preview

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West Central Tribune
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Willmar Cardinals Boys Hockey preview
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

COACH

Dan Tollefson, 3rd season

ASSISTANT COACHES

Reed Larson (varsity assistant), Jason Bruhn (varsity assistant), Ross Dahl (head junior varsity), Tom Wodash (JV assistant)

LAST SEASON

11-14 overall, 5-11 Central Lakes Conference, sixth place ... Section 3A: beat Marshall 6-2; lost to Hutchinson 5-1

KEY DATES

Season/home: 7 p.m. today vs. Morris/Benson Area at Willmar Civic Center (no JV game)

Central Lakes Conference opener: Dec. 8 vs. River Lakes, at Willmar

Holiday tournament: Dec. 28-30 at River Lakes Invite, Paynesville

Section 6A quarterfinals: Feb. 20 at high seed

ROSTER BREAKDOWN

(returning letterwinners in bold)

Seniors

Keifer Dahle, goalie

John Ellingboe, forward

Ben Leitch, goalie

Todd Gregg, forward

James Johnston, forward

Grant Kallevig, defense

Jordan Nuytten, foward

Stephen Reynolds, forward

Jake Tone, defense

Paul Schrupp, defense

Tyler Woltjer, forward

Juniors

Gabe Amon, forward

Tyler Bredeson, defense

Thomas Chester, forward

Jeff Duininck, forward

Mitch Fader, defense

Liam Johnston, forward

Sawyer Lippert, defense

Austin Pakola, forward

Landon Peterson, defense

Dan Reeb, goalie

Jeremiah Reinhert, forward

John Schlegel, forward

Grant Schow, forward

Darrick Whelan, forward

Sophomores

Derek Baker, goalie

Graham Dahl, forward

Matthew Eddy, defense

Matt Gleaves, goalie

Austin Hilding, forward

Aaron Privette, forward

Chris Odens, defense

Brandon Reuvers, forward

Andrew Shimek, forward

Ben Wanner, forward

FOR STARTERS

Lines: First: Gabe Amon centers left wing Liam Johnston and right wing Grant Schow ... Second: James Johnston centers Stephen Reynolds and Todd Gregg ... Third: Tom Chester centers Austin Pakola and Tyler Woltjer ... Fourth: Jordan Nuytten, Darrick Whelan ... Defense (pairs): Paul Schrupp and Jake Tone; Landon Peterson and Grant Kallevig; Mitch Fader and Tyler Bredeson ... Goalies: Ben Leitch, Keifer Dahle

OUTLOOK

Head coach Dan Tollefson: "We have balance with experience at both forward and defense, and also in goal. There's decent speed and we're stronger than a year ago. The first line will have to pick up a lot of the scoring lost to graduation. We made big strides last year and want to continue on that course."

With 13 lettermen back, the squad has the ingredients to move into the upper half of 10-team conference. Little Falls went 44-2 in CLC games while winning last three league crowns but the Flyers may have trouble gaining altitude this winter without all-time state scoring leader Ben Hanowski and other key personnel who graduated. Alexandria and Sartell appear to be the team to beat in both the CLC and the newly aligned 11-team Section 6A that also includes the Flyers, Fergus Falls, Willmar and tonight's opponent, Benson/Morris Area.

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
(320) 214-4334
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