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ISSUE 120 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/10/2006

Winter Preview, Men's Hockey: Experience, tenacity key

By Matthew Stortz
Staff Writer

Friday, November 10, 2006

The St. Olaf men’'s hockey team will defend its first conference title since 1940 this season against a stacked MIAC conference. Though everyone will be gunning for the Oles, who are currently ranked 15th in the nation, the team is well prepared to defend its crown.

Captains John Egge ‘'07 and Kyle Hilmershausen ’'07 lead a talented core of returning players that should give opponents fits. All-MIAC defenseman John Paulson ’'08, Mitch Mudra ’'07 and all-MIAC rookie team honoree Barret Simons ’'09 will lead a defense that allowed only 40 goals last year, including only six in the first period.

Dylan Mueller ’'09, Egge and Hilmershausen will add experience to an Ole offense which may feature a handful of first-year players. Jeff Wilde '’07 will fill the big skates left by Dan Kehler ’'06 in net, but has proven repeatedly that he is up to the challenge – last season his save percentage essentially equaled Kehler’s at .910.

In addition to the pressures of defending their title, the Oles have one of the toughest schedules imaginable. They will be tested early and often, playing six games against nationally ranked opponents in their first 10 contests. Moreover, one of their unranked opponents is St. Scholastica, a perennial contender.

Under the direction of head coach Sean Goldsworthy ’'94, now in his 10th year at the helm, the team has ascended from MIAC mediocrity to perennial powerhouse. The Oles have made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, winning the conference tournament last year. This turnaround is no small accomplishment considering that the Oles compete with traditional MIAC forces St. John’s and St. Thomas for top talent and play and practice in the antiquated off-campus Northfield Ice Arena.

While they certainly have the tools to repeat as MIAC champions, the Oles are taking nothing for granted.

“"We have all of the pieces that we need to win,"” said Casey Dynan ’'09, “"but now it needs to all come together." "I'’m not going to talk big because we haven’t done anything yet. We make our statements on the ice.”"

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