Packers boys hockey team under new management
By Scott A. Kolb
The season opener is still a few weeks away for the Austin Packers boys hockey team, so there’s ample time for the players to adjust to the philosophy of a new coach for the 2008-09 campaign.
Tim Peterson takes over as the head coach this season for the Packers. He replaces Mike Wolfe who coached the team for the last two seasons.
The new coach has a young team with only three seniors on the roster. The assistant coaches for the Packers will be Jason Merritt, Taggert Medgaarden, and Tim Rodgers.
Mark Harber, Garrett Erstad, and Josh Merritt are the returning seniors for the Packers. All three of the upperclassmen play on the wing and their scoring abilities will help the Austin offense.
Many of the juniors on the team saw extensive action last season on the varsity. Shayne Figliola plays on the wing, and Adam McMasters is a center as the Packers return a number of players who can score goals.
Defense will be one of the strong suits for the Packers this season. Luke Bennett, a junior, played a lot for the Packers on defense last year. Bobby Astrup is another junior defender returning for AHS.
Aaron Dooley and Brady Klingfus, both juniors, split time as the goalies last season. Dooley started the most games and he had more than a few nights when he recorded 30-plus saves. Klingfus also got plenty of time tending the net last season, so the Packers have a pair of experienced goalies to guide the defense.
Taylor Sederquest, a sophomore, is another returning wing for the Packers. Sederquest was on the varsity as a freshman as was Isaac Gorman, who played at wing last year as an eighth-grader. The Packers may have a young team, but the boys have seen plenty of ice time.
Although the Packers struggled to win games over the last two years, the past is gone and the upcoming season is a fresh slate.
Austin High boys hockey opens the season on the road against Marshall on Nov. 29, which is a Saturday afternoon.
The Big Nine Conference opener is then scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 4 at Riverside Arena against Faribault. This game will also be the home opener for the Packers. It wasn’t that long ago when playing the Falcons was a big rivalry game, so hopefully the Austin boys can bring the excitement back to their home arena this season.
AUSTIN BOYS HOCKEY
Seniors — Mark Harber (wing), Josh Merritt (wing), Garrett Erstad (wing). Juniors — Brady Klingfus (goalie), Bobby Astrup (defense), Cameron O’Connor (defense), Luke Bennett (defense), Adam McMasters (center), Shayne Figliola (wing), Aaron Dooley (goalie). Sophomores — Braiden Nelson (center), Taylor Sederquest (wing). Freshmen — Isaac Gorman (wing), Derek McMasters (center), Codie Miller (center).
(Home games at Riverside Arena)
Nov. 29 — at Marshall, 3 p.m.
Dec. 4 — Faribault, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 9 — at Albert Lea, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 11 — Rochester Century, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 13 — Luverne, 1 p.m.
Dec. 16 — at Rochester JM, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 18 — Mankato West, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 3 — Windom, 1 p.m.
Jan. 10 — Mankato East, 3 p.m.
Jan. 13 — at Winona, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 15 — at Owatonna, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 22 — Albert Lea, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 24 — Waseca, 3 p.m.
Jan. 27 — at Dodge County, 7 p.m.
Jan. 29 — at New Ulm, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 31 — Rochester JM, 3 p.m.
Feb. 3 — at Mankato West, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 — at Rochester Mayo, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 7 — at Le Sueur-Henderson, 5 p.m.
Feb. 10 — at Mankato East, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 12 — Winona, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 17 — Owatonna, 7:30 p.m.