Young Spartans kick off season tonightThe 2012-13 version of the Spartans has just six seniors, including two goalies, three forwards and a defenseman.
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
The Superior High School boys hockey team will be one of the youngest in Jason Kalin’s 12 seasons as head coach of the Spartans.
The 2012-13 version of the Spartans has just six seniors, including two goalies, three forwards and a defenseman.
Returning upperclassmen with varsity experience are defenseman Trent Olson, forward Dane Sislo and goaltender Zach Reiswig. The remaining seniors are forwards Chase Carlson and Aaron Foley and goaltender Cody Schimming.
Schimming and Reiswig will battle for playing time in goal with junior Paxton Paine and sophomore Peyton Flanders.
“We’re trying them all out, switching them in practice, trying to get a look at all of them and see who our best guy is,” Kalin said. “The best guy’s going to play and we want somebody in the net who is going to be consistent and stop some pucks for us.
“Goaltending will be a big portion of our success this year.”
The only player joining Olson on defense with extended varsity experience is sophomore Grant Hanson.
“Jesse (Polson) dressed for the varsity some last year, but didn’t play much, so we’re a very, very young team, especially on defense,” Kalin said.
Early forward combinations include Sislo, Daniel Burger and Daniel Mikel and Aaron Miller, Wakefield-Zubiate and Tyler Nystrom.
“Mikel will be out of town this weekend so that’s a big loss for us,” Kalin said. “He’s a good hockey player and adds a lot to that line.
“The Miller line is a creative line for us, and with Wakefield they’re going to have speed galore.”
Rotating on the third and fourth lines be sophomores Anthony Bronson, Bryan Bergstrom and Kyler Krob, freshman Preston Michaud, junior Noah Peterson and Foley and Carlson.
“We’ll be rotating guys in and out on the rest of the lines,” Kalin said. “We’re trying to develop a line that will be disciplined, get the puck deep when we need to and capitalize on their opportunies.”
“We don’t have a lot varsity experience, but we have guys that are ready and willing learn,” added Olson.
The Spartans open their season tonight at the Eau Claire Memorial Tournament. Superior plays Green Bay Notre Dame at 5 p.m. The other semifinal game is Wausau West vs. the host Old Abes. The championship and third-place games are Saturday.
Superior will also play in the Duluth Marshall Hilltopper Classic Dec. 27-29 and the Notre Dame Tournament Jan. 25-27.
The three tournaments caused a quirk in the Spartans’ schedule that has them hosting New Richmond on Dec. 8 and then not playing at home again until Jan. 29 against Cloquet.
“With the tournaments and few new opponents that wanted to play us at their home, we will be traveling a lot this year, hopefully we’re going to be ‘Road Dogs,’” Kalin said.
New on Superior’s schedule are Chippewa Falls and Virginia on Feb. 2 and 5.
Kalin got an early preview of his squad at Monday’s Lake Superior Conference Jamboree in Cloquet. Superior defeated Ashland 6-0, played to a scoreless tie with Proctor and defeated North Shore (Two Harbors and Silver Bay) 3-0.
“We didn’t get to play the caliber of teams in the upper part of our conference, but we played well and didn’t give up a goal, which was nice,” Kalin said. “Proctor and North Shore had a flurry or two in front of our net and the defensive play was a bit sketchy a times, but our goalies took care of it.
“We also learned we need to learn how to pass, communicate more and be more disciplined. We had a lot of turnovers and didn’t get the puck deep in certain situations. But I enjoyed that our guys played physical and didn’t shy away from the hits. But we have to pick up the pace of our game, a lot, but that will come with time.”
Superior opens the season ranked No. 3 in Wisconsin. Notre Dame is No. 1, Wausau West is No. 2 and Eau Claire Memorial is No. 6.
“I don’t put a lot into the rankings, but it’s nice that people think highly of us,” Kalin said. “But we have to go out and prove that we belong there, and this weekend’s tournament is going to be a good test for us.”
As for play in the LSC, Kalin said the league will be stronger than ever.
“Marshall brought in some new guys, so you know they’re going to be tough,” Kalin said. “Denfeld is always good, Cloquet has a very good top line and Hermantown’s always a stellar team. It’s going to be a tough conference battle. We don’t want to be in fifth any more, we want to be battling at the top.
“We really want to do well around here this year. We had two close games with Hermantown but didn’t play well against Denfeld. Cloquet was a fun game, but they got ahead of us at the end. We want to be fighting locally and then get back to state.”
Superior’s last state championship was in 2005.
“This will be the longest drought in Superior’s history if we don’t make state this year,” Kalin said. “It’s something that’s on our minds. We’ve had teams that were capable, but the past two years we’ve run into the top teams right way. Without seeding the state tournament, it’s tough to win down there when you get a bad draw.”
The Spartans also went without a state championship from 1982 to 1990 and twice went seven years (1974-1981 and 1996-2003).
If the Spartans are to be successful, they’ll have to do it without Daniel Litchke, who elected to forgo his senior season to play for the Janesville Jets in the North American Hockey League.
“We lost a really good hockey player,” Kalin said. “We tried to talk him into coming back home but we hope the best for him. We want to see every single Superior kid succeed and we hope to see him in a USHL or Division I jersey soon.
“Daniel would have ended up with close to 70 points this year for us and he’s our two-time reigning MVP. He potentially would have been our only three-time MVP in team history if he would have stuck around. We wish him the best of luck.”
SPARTAN SPIN: Olson is this year’s captain. The assistant captains are Sislo and Wakefield-Zubiate. … Kalin’s assistant coaches are Rob Downs, Ryan and Nate Hendry and Geoff Torzewski and the team managers are Allie Shober, Kristina Manion, Lauren Magnuson and Nikki Hansen.
Wisconsin Prep Hockey Top 10
Preseason Top 10
1. Notre Dame; 2. Wausau West; 3. Superior; 4. Verona; 5. Marquette; 6. Eau Claire Memorial; 7. KMMO; 8. Brookfield/CMH; 9. Middleton; 10. D.C. Everest.
2012-13 Superior Spartans
Boys Hockey Roster
1 Peyton Flanders 10 G
2 Dylan Ion 9 D
3 Grant Hanson 10 D
4 Mike Hinaus 11 D
5 Mitch Anderson 9 D
6 Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate 11 F
7 Matthew Hinaus 10 D
8 Noah Peterson 11 F
9 Robert Severin 9 F
10 Anthony Bronson 10 F
11 Tyler Nystrom 10 F
12 Bryan Bergstrom 10 F
13 Aaron Foley 12 F
14 Chase Carlson 12 F
15 William Bednarek 11 D
16 Dylan Conklin 10 D
17 Devin Melcher 10 F
18 Daniel Mikel 11 F
19 Trent Olson 12 D
20 Aaron Miller 11 F
21 Daniel Seipke 11 F
22 Beau Reder 9 D/F
23 Adam Strobel 11 F
24 Jesse Polson 10 D
25 Kyler Krob 10 F
26 Daniel Burger 10 F
27 Braydon Kurtz 9 D/F
28 Preston Michaud 9 F
29 Dane Sislo 12 F
30 Paxon Paine 11 G
31 Cody Schimming 12 G
33 Mike Nowicki 10 D
36 Will Mullens 11 D
40 Zach Reiswig 12 G
SHS Boys Hockey
Eau Claire Memorial Tournament
Fri, Nov. 23 vs. Notre Dame, 5 p.m.
Sat, Nov. 24 at ECM Tourney
Tue, Nov. 27 vs. Rice Lake, 7 p.m.
Sat, Dec. 1 vs. Hudson, 1 p.m.
Tue, Dec. 4 at River Falls, 7 p.m.
Sat, Dec. 8 vs. New Rich., 2 p.m.
Tue, Dec. 11 at Menomonie, 7 p.m.
Sat, Dec. 15 at Wis. Rapids, 4 p.m.
Sat, Dec. 22 at E.C. Mem., 2 p.m.
Duluth Marshall Hilltopper Classic
Thur., Dec. 27 vs. Delano, 1 p.m.
Dec. 28-29 at Marshall Tourney
Fri, Jan. 4 at Proctor, 7:30 p.m.
Thu, Jan. 10 at Marshall, 7:30 p.m.
Tue, Jan. 15 at Herm., 7:30 p.m.
Sat, Jan. 19 at Duluth East, 1 p.m.
Tue, Jan. 22 at Denfeld, 5:30 p.m.
Green Bay Tournament
Fri, Jan. 25 at Wausau West, 8 p.m.
Sat, Jan. 26 vs. TBA at Green Bay
Sun, Jan. 27 vs. TBA at Green Bay
Tue, Jan. 29 vs. Cloquet, 7:30 p.m.
Sat, Feb. 2 vs. Chip. Falls, 2 p.m.
Tue, Feb. 5 at Virginia, 7:30 p.m.
Thu, Feb. 7 vs. Herm., 7:30 p.m.
Tue., Feb. 12 Regional Semifinal
Thur., Feb. 14 Regional Final
Tue, Feb. 19 Sectional Semi
Sat, Feb. 23 Sectional Final
Feb. 28 State at Madison
March 1-2 State at Madison