MARSHALL - Coming off its first state hockey tournament appearance, the Marshall boys hockey team has some big goals with a new head coach and a younger team.
"Our main goal is to get back to the state tournament," said Tigers head coach Michael Weiss. "We would like to finish off with the last Southwest Conference championship. We have some high goals, but we definitely think they are attainable this year."
The Tigers finished 14-12-1 last season and defeated Hutchinson 3-2 in overtime to advance to the MSHSL Class A Boys Hockey State Tournament.
Marshall started in the right direction this season, defeating Worthington 8-1 in the Tigers' season opener, but enter the season with many spots to fill.
MHS returns seven seniors from a year ago. Seven juniors, six sophomores and a freshman join them this season.
The Tigers have senior Mason Campion back in net, something Weiss is excited about.
"We knew we had a good backstop in Mason and a pretty good defensive core to stick with," Weiss said.
"It gives us a lot more confidence to try things up front. We know our guys have to support him on the defensive end, but there are a few more options available."
Senior Brent Haukom returns to anchor the defense, and Weiss looks to him to be a leader on the ice.
"He's going to be one of our top D all year and we look to him to be a leader to the younger guys playing D," said Weiss.
The Tigers also return five senior forwards, who they look toward to lead the offensive attack.
"We have Andrew Bell and Alex Buysse. We look to them to score a lot of goals. They are going to be one of our highest-producing lines," Weiss said. "We also have Walker Werpy and Jeremiah Barker as forwards. We look to them to bring a lot of energy every game. They are pretty high-intensity guys out there."
Taylor Rasmussen is also a senior forward.
A variety of juniors saw playing time as sophomores and Weiss is looking for them to step in and fill needed roles on both offense and defense.
"We've seen some good things from Sebastian Landry, a (junior) forward so far. He's really quick. We'll look to him to add to our offense this year," said Weiss. "(Freshman) Dylan Criquet-Danielson, he's a very talented D-man. He brings a lot of skill to the game, a lot of knowledge. We'll look for him back there too."
Going into the season, the Tigers know that they won't be able to skate through any games without putting forth maximum effort.
"The main key will be brining the energy every night, bringing our best game," Weiss said. "We know we can't have a night off this year."
Nov. 26: Worthington/Fulda, 8-1
Dec. 3: Luverne
Dec. 5: at New Ulm
Dec. 7: Hutchinson
Dec. 10: Windom Area
Dec. 12: Redwood Valley
Dec. 14: at Willmar
Dec. 20: at St. Peter/LeSueur-Henderson/Tri City United
Dec. 26: at Schwan Cup, Blaine
Dec. 27: at Schwan Cup, Blaine
Dec. 28: at Schwan Cup, Blaine
Jan. 2: at Luverne
Jan. 7: at Worthington/Fulda
Jan. 13: at Windom Area
Jan. 16: at Morris/Benson Area
Jan. 18: at Minnehaha Academy
Jan. 21: at Redwood Valley
Jan. 23: Litchfield
Jan. 25: at Fairmont
Jan. 28: Morris/Benson Area
Feb. 8: Fairmont
Feb. 11: St. Peter/LeSueur-Henderson/Tri City United
Feb. 13: Sioux Falls
Feb. 15: at Achiever Academy