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13 posts from January 2013

January 31, 2013

PHERSY AND FATIS SHOW: On the road again edition

PHERSY: The Phersy and Fatis Show returns tonight, and we're breaking down the Ice Hawks' win last weekend and the two-game set this coming weekend (the Ice Hawks are at the Energy on Friday and at the Crusaders on Saturday).

We also break down the latest player news, etc.

ON A SIDE NOTE: Ice Hawks fans, please say a prayer for Jesse Bos, one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet and one of the most dedicated Ice Hawks fans of all time. Jesse is still in the hospital, battling an unknown illness, and he could use your prayers.

Enjoy this week's show.

PhersyandFatisShow013113



January 30, 2013

Thoughts on more of the 400-win coaches

A guest post by P-B sports editor Craig Swalboski:

In my Wednesday (Jan. 30) Pressbox View column, I talked about some of the 78-plus coaches who have reached the 400-win mark for their careers in Minnesota high school boys basketball.  The column focused on the coaches I have worked with the most, but there wasn't room to go deeper.

So here are some observations about many of the other coaches on that list, from my 41 years of covering boys basketball as a writer and editor, and even from following it before then:

Bob Brink (No. 2, 935 wins) was the most-intense coach I worked with on a regular basis. Somehow he still was able to last exactly a half-century in the field. Fifty years; that's impressive.

I watched Ken Novak Jr. (No. 4, 689) play for his dad Ken Novak Sr. (No. 44, 459) in the state tournament in the 1970s. Dad has helped son through much of his career in Hopkins.

I met Staples-Motley's Lynn Peterson (No. 5, 683) when he was still a young coach, fresh on the scene at S-M. He brought his team to the Rotary tournament in 2003 and 2004. His team gave mighty Minneapolis North a battle in the 1995 title game of the short-lived "Sweet Sixteen" format state tournament.

Franz Boelter (No. 7, 580-plus) built nice Faribault Bethlehem Academy teams in 1993 and 1994 with stifling defense, and the '93 team was state runner-up (I was sure it would win). He's also among the all-time best in career volleyball wins, I guess proving that coaching is coaching, whether it's girls or boys.

I mentioned John Nett (No. 8, 580) in the column but should add my admiration for several aspects of the Cotter program in those days: strong man-to-man defense, disciplined offense, and character on and off the court.

If I had a dollar for every time I talked to Jerry Snyder (No. 9, 574), I could retire now. His Lake City teams were almost always good and required the attention of the local sports writer; Snyder was always gracious about talking to us.

Len Horyza (No. 14, 553) was the quintessential Catholic school coach and that's a compliment. (See also Lou Mitteco at No. 17, Rich Decker at No. 22 and of course Boelter). His daughter Kathy coaches KAATS Gymnastics in Pine Island.

Before Duluth was such a big hockey town, it had great basketball. The Duluth Central teams of Jim Hastings (No. 18, 541) reached the one-class state meet four times from 1961-69, taking a championship and a runner-up trophy. The 1966 Duluth East team (including future JM and Century coach Jeff Wells) came through Region 7 to get all the way to the state finals, losing in overtime to powerful Edina.

Merrill Skinner (No. 24, 524) took over at Howard Lake while I was still at St. Cloud, but I didn't get to know him well. He built on some good years forged by Wally Trochlil, who Rochester fans might know as the coach of Elk River when Skipp Schaefbauer scored the Elks' first 25 points in the 1992 Rotary title game against Park Cottage Grove and Sam Jacobson. Trochlil, an avid golfer, shot his age five times in 2012, according to the Elk River paper.

Lloyd Stussy (No. 25, 522) had a young Rich Decker as his assistant coach at Wells in the 1960s.

Al Andreotti (No. 26, 521) won a pile of games and got to the one-class state tournament twice in his late 1960s years at Hayfield. I knew him at St. Cloud Tech in the early '70s, when the new school in town, Apollo, had better athletes and a good coach in former Cathedral skipper Jerry Vos. But by 1980 Andreotti got Tech all the way to the state title game and he was off to 500-plus wins.

For a while, Ted Pelzl (No. 27, 520) and his New Richland-Ellendale (later NRHEG) teams were in Section One. But I saw far more of his son Terry, Tom Vix's longtime assistant at Rushford-Peterson.

Kurt Virgin (No. 36, 485) was a starting guard for a St. Cloud State team I covered occasionally between high school games in the 1970s. As a senior at South St. Paul, Virgin and his team lost in the state title game to "Cinderella" Sherburn in the last one-class tournament.

Something about Kenyon? Rich Decker (No. 22, 527), Ron Hested (No. 32, 506) and Al Wold (No. 37, 482) all were head coaches there. Hested took the 1970 team to the state tournament before moving on to Fairmont. And Jerry Wieme didn't reach 400, but he won 309 games and a state title before retiring in 2004.

Del Schiffler (No. 38, 475) and his Melrose team got me to the state championship game as a rookie writer in 1972, his first year as a head coach. He had the great Mark Olberding his first three seasons but proved his coaching ability by winning a second state title, in 1983 with Woodbury, making him one of the few to win state championships with two different schools. A quality person too, and sadly his career was cut short by cancer.

Manny Beckmann (No. 47, 446) took advantage of an enrollment and class drop at Waseca to get to back-to-back state tournaments in 1987 and 1988. His assistant was a guy better known on the baseball diamond, Tink Larson.

When I was in high school, one of our conference rivals was Braham and they didn't have much in those years. But before that, Len Froyen (No. 74, 402) won a lot of games at the east-central Minnesota school, and the current coach there, Bob Vaughan (No. 11, 558) won three straight state titles 2004-06.

January 24, 2013

PHERSY AND FATIS SHOW: All we do is win edition

PHERSY: The Phersy and Fatis Show returns today, and we're talking about some new faces, roster moves, last weekend's wins and the upcoming game at the Rec Center.

The Ice Hawks return to action at 7:05 p.m. Friday at home against the (hated) Minnesota Owls.

Enjoy the show!

PhersyAndFatisShow012413



January 21, 2013

Junior Hockey | Changes coming in the NAHL

Posted by: Feldman

The Austin Bruins are in the midst of the best season in the short history of the franchise. The Bruins have won 28 of their first 39 games, and have earned at least one point in 33 of those games.

Barring a lose-every-game-the-rest-of-the-way collapse, the Bruins will be in the North American Hockey League playoffs for a second consecutive season. Barring a less-monumental collapse, they'll be the Central Division champions and earn home ice throughout the first two rounds of the postseason.

Regardles of how this season ends, though, the Bruins' division and the entire NAHL will be shaken up next season -- possibly shaken up a bit, possibly shaken up a lot.

Two things we know for certain about the 2013-14 season (and these things could cause a domino effect that really shakes up the structure of the league's divisions):

1. A new team, the Minnesota Magicians (based in Richfield) will join the NAHL. (And, I'm told it's a near certainty they'll be in the same division as the Bruins). The Magicians' owners, Scott Krueger, Scott Meyer and Joe Pankratz, bought out the dormant New Mexico franchise and are relocating it to the Twin Cities area.

2. The Wenatchee (Wash.) Wild will leave the NAHL to compete in the British Columbia Hockey League, a league that some Division I colleges (many in the WCHA) recruit heavily.

So, how far will the snowball roll? We have to start out west to attempt to answer that question.

* With Wenatchee's departure, the NAHL West Division is down to three teams, Fresno (Calif.), Fairbanks (Alaska) and Kenai River (Kenai, Alaska). If another west coast city can be found to replace Wenatchee, the NAHL might prefer to look at that first. If not, I don't think the league would allow a three-team West Division to fly. That would mean either about 25 games against each of their division opponents for the teams in the West, or a lot of loooooong bus trips to play teams in the South, Central or North Divisions.

Also, reports I've read say Fresno has not renewed its NAHL agreement for the 2013-14 season. Fresno already has a Western States Hockey League team in town; perhaps it becomes a one hockey team town. It would make sense for the ownership group to sell their spot in the NAHL to a group located in closer proximity to one of the current divisions.

Of course, that would leave the two Alaska teams in limbo, which is a shame, as strong as Fairbanks has been in recent seasons.

If the West Division is left with just the Alaska teams, I can't imagine either one of them would stay put in their current cities, unless one or both owners are willing to shell out big bucks to continually travel to the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc. (by the way, a quick check of Mapquest indicates a bus trip from Fairbanks to Minot, N.D., is 2,552 miles one way)

Even then, you can't have a two-team division, so the Alaska teams would have to fall into the Central or the North (which would then likely be realigned) and you'd have to convince teams like Minot, Bismarck, Austin, Aberdeen, etc., that it's worth their time and money to make one or more trips to Alaska each season. That's going to be a hard sell.

So, potentially, I suppose we could see one, two or all four West Division franchises sold or relocated or just simply shut down.

* ... which brings us to the addition of the Minnesota Magicians. They'll play in the 1,800-seat Richfield Ice Arena and will provide a nice natural rival for the Austin Bruins, in addition to a short bus trip for the players.

Barring any other franchises being relocated to Minnesota or the region, the addition of the Magicians would make the Central a seven-team division. That wouldn't be entirely bad, either. It would mean teams have to battle even harder to be one of the four who make the division playoffs.

Who knows what the NAHL will ultimately look like in 2013-14; we could still have 24 teams, with more closer to our area, maybe we see a 20- or 22-team league without a West Division? Who knows? It will certainly make this offseason one to follow.

January 18, 2013

High School Hockey | Mayo vs. JM, Take 106, set for Saturday

Posted by: Feldman

It was a year ago at this time when I took a look back at the long rivalry between Rochester John Marshall and Rochester Mayo. Here's a link to that story from our archives; it was one of my favorite stories I've done in the eight years I've been here. Here's the story that ran on the front of the Sports section that day, with a look at where the rivalry stands today. They may not play in front of sold-out arenas anymore, but the battles for bragging rights are no less intense.

Thinking back on it now, no one I interviewed would flat-out say "yeah, we hated Mayo's guts" or "we wanted to beat JM by eight every time out," but I could sense it in just about everyone I talked to on both sides. There was definitely a lot of respect both ways, but there's no doubt the JM-Mayo matchup is one that every player on both teams would circle on the calendar as soon as the schedule came out.

The rivals will meet at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Graham Arena I. It will be the 106th matchup in a series that is remarkably close:

• JM holds a slim 53-51-1 lead after 105 games. Mayo has won four in a row against JM to pull close.

• Perhaps the most amazing stat in this long, storied rivalry is that Mayo has never held the series lead. And the last time the series was tied was at the end of the 1968-69 season, when the series stood at 3-3-0.

• If Mayo wins tonight, it will be just one game down in the all-time series for the first time since the end of the 2001-02 season, when a 14-game winning streak in the series pulled it within 40-39-1.

A few bulletpoints on tonight's game:

• Mayo is 7-0-0 in the Big Nine (the only remaining unbeaten team in the conference) and 12-4-0 overall. JM is 4-5-0, 5-11-0, but the Rockets have won two in a row and have been boosted by the return of three of their top players to the lineup after missing half the season because of MSHSL rules violations.

• In the series, 38 games have been decided by one goal. I wouldn't be shocked if Saturday's game turns out to be a one-goal game. Don't think so? Check out the scores of the last seven games between these teams:

Dec. 30, 2010 — JM 2, Mayo 1, OT (Kiwanis Festival 7th place game)
Jan. 15, 2011 — Mayo 2, JM 1 (Meeting No. 100)
Dec. 10, 2011 — JM 4, Mayo 3
Dec. 30, 2011 — Mayo 3, JM 2 (Kiwanis Festival 7th-place game)
Jan. 21, 2012 — Mayo 4, JM 1
Feb. 23, 2012 — Mayo 3, JM 2 (Section 1AA quarterfinal)
Dec. 8, 2012 — Mayo 2, JM 0

That's five one-goal games and a two-goal game in the last seven matchups.

I'm sure Saturday's game will again hinge on the play of the goaltenders — Mayo's Case Hansen and JM's Jacob Garvey.

Don't discount the addition of Gavin Sandwick, Hunter Heightland and Alex Lovett back into the Rockets lineup. With those three guys in the lineup, JM can now have its second- and third-line guys playing on the second and third lines, rather than playing up a line. The Rockets are certainly more well-equipped to watch Mayo's depth.

Watch Mayo's third line, too. Sophomores Ethan Moore, Nick Newman and Logan Haskins are getting comfortable in the varsity game and have started producing points. In fact, the Spartans have been getting scoring from all three lines. So, Saturday's game could come down to Mayo's forward depth vs. JM's forward depth.

Game No. 106 is set for 7:30 p.m. at Graham Arena.

• • •

Before we end this, though, when I wrote the piece about the history of the rivalry last year, I did a series of 10 blog posts looking back at every game played between these teams. Here are those posts:

The beginning of the rivalry: Games 1-10

The names Strobel, Lecy appear: Games 11-20

Games 21-30

Games 31-40 feature a good goaltending battle in a playoff game and a game televised in Rochester

Podein, Zmolek enter the picture: Games 41-50

Games 51-60 feature Mayo's biggest victory in the rivalry and a John Marshall player bouncing back from two broken legs

Games 61-70 can be found here

Games 71-80 include one of the best games ever played in the series, a double-OT thriller in a section final

Games 81-91 are here

Recaps of games 92-102, which led into the article I wrote, can be found here

January 17, 2013

PHERSY AND FATIS SHOW: Hi Mommy and Daddy Edition

Derek Moser

PHERSY: We're back, and you guessed it, it's Parents Weekend here in Ice Hawks land.

The Ice Hawks host the Dells Ducks at 7:05 p.m. Friday and again at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at the Rec Center. Guessing the building will be packed with all the Ice Hawks families coming into town for the weekend festivities.

The Ice Hawks received terrible news this week. Goalie Derek Moser is out for the season with a broken ankle. The good news is, Erik Johnson will step up in his place, and I'm sure Corey Grummick will crank up his play, too.

Anyway, enjoy the show!

 

PhersyAndFatisShow011713

 

January 15, 2013

This Week in High School Hockey | Jan. 15

Posted by: Feldman

First, if you weren't at the Mayo-Century game on Saturday night, and you haven't seen the video of Mayo sophomore Logan Haskins' second goal of the game (it's pinged around Twitter for two days), here it is. I highly recommend watching if you haven't yet.

DODGE COUNTY WILDCATS
Last week: 1-0-1; beat New Ulm, 5-3; tied Richfield, 3-3.
Season: 5-10-2 overall.
What happened: The Wildcats lost to New Ulm by four goals on Dec. 27. Last Tuesday, the Wildcats turned it around and beat the Eagles by two. While this New Ulm team isn't as strong as some of its state-tournament teams of recent seasons, this was still a nice 'W' for Dodge County. If nothing else, it should provide some confidence for the young players on the team. In the 3-3 tie against Richfield on Saturday, the 'Cats discovered they have a little depth at goalie, as Joe Biwer made his first varsity start and stopped 36 shots.
This week: Thursday, vs. St. Paul Highland Park (7:30 p.m.).

RED WING WINGERS
Last week: 0-2-0; Lost at Chanhassen, 4-2; lost at Holy Angels, 7-1.
Season: 0-12-1 overall, 0-3-1 Missota Conference.
What happened: The Wingers struggles on both ends of the ice continued as conference play got into full swing. Red Wing has allowed 19 goals, while scoring just five, in its past three games. The Wingers' best shot at a win might come next Tuesday, when it plays host to Shakopee.
This week: Tonight, at New Prague (7:15 p.m.); Thursday, vs. Chaska (7 p.m.).

ROCHESTER CENTURY PANTHERS
Last week: 0-2-0; lost at Albert Lea, 2-1; lost to Rochester Mayo, 7-1.
Season: 2-12-0 overall; 1-6-0 Big Nine Conference.
What happened: While Century was outshot, 34-20, at Albert Lea, it was in the game until the final buzzer. Eric Rohleder made 32 saves to keep the Panthers in the game, as he has done a number of times this season. Century played a solid first 16 minutes against Mayo, but the Spartans scored twice in the final 45 seconds of the first period for a 3-0 lead, then Mayo's depth took over as it controlled the remainder of the game. ... The good news last week for Century was the return of sophomore defenseman Riese Zmolek, who was back in game action nearly three weeks ahead of schedule. Zmolek had missed the entire season to that point after suffering a broken ankle last fall.
This week: Tonight, vs. Owatonna (7:30 p.m., Rec Center); Thursday, at Benilde-St. Margaret's (7 p.m., St. Louis Park Rec Center).

ROCHESTER JM ROCKETS
Last week: 0-3-0; lost at Owatonna, 6-2; lost to Eastview, 3-1; lost to Austin, 3-2.
Season: 3-11-0 overall; 2-5-0 Big Nine.
What happened: JM led Owatonna after one period, 2-1, and trailed 3-2 after two, but the Huskies scored three in the third period to pull away. The Huskies scored all three of their third-period goals in a span of 69 seconds, in the final five minutes of the game. ... JM responded with one of its best games of the season, falling to Eastview in a close game. Eastview won the Kiwanis Festival in Rochester two weeks ago, putting up seven goals on Mayo in the title game. JM goalies Jacob Garvey and Patric Sadecki combined to limit the Lightning to three goals on 41 shots.
This week: Tonight, at Faribault (7:30 p.m.); Thursday, at Albert Lea (7:30 p.m.); Saturday, at Rochester Mayo (7:30 p.m., at Graham Arena I).

No. 7 ROCHESTER LOURDES EAGLES
Last week: 3-0-0; beat Mankato West, 3-2; won at New Ulm, 7-3; beat Delano/Rockford, 6-5, OT.
Season: 10-4-0 overall.
What happened: Lourdes scored a big win -- in terms of seeding for the Section 1A tournament -- when it beat West last Tuesday. The win likely locked up the No. 1 seed in the section playoffs for the Eagles, barring a disastrous stretch to close the regular season. The victory against Delano/Rockford was a big one, mentally. Lourdes hadn't fared so well in its past couple outings against ranked teams, so to beat one -- on a goal in the final 30 seconds of OT -- is a big boost. The Eagles still need to improve in the defensive zone; they've played six games in January and have allowed a total of 24 goals in those games.
This week: Saturday, at Duluth Marshall (3 p.m.).

ROCHESTER MAYO SPARTANS
Last week: 2-0-0; won at South St. Paul, 3-2, OT; won at Rochester Century, 7-1.
Season: 11-4-0 overall; 6-0-0 Big Nine Conference.
What happened: The win at SSP was a big one for the Spartans, who had lost a pair of one-goal games against hot goalies the weekend before (against Hibbing and Virginia). The victory against Century showed off Mayo's depth. They received at least one goal from their top three lines, scored two power-play goals and a short-handed goal. The Spartans have nothing but conference games remaining on their schedule. They control their own destiny in the chase for the Big Nine title, but there are still 10 games remaining.
This week: Tonight, vs. Winona (7:30 p.m., Graham I); Saturday, vs. John Marshall (7:30 p.m., Graham I).

January 12, 2013

Junior Hockey | NAHL Central Division 6-Pack

Posted by: Feldman

The Austin Bruins continued their tear through the NAHL Central Division on Friday, winning at Brookings, 5-3. The Bruins needed veteran goalie Nick Lehr to be on top of his game, and he was, making 41 saves. A power-play goal in the final minute by Brookings made the final score a little closer. Austin didn't dominate, though it led 3-0 after one period. They needed all of Lehr's saves — he made 31 of his 41 stops over the final 40 minutes — to pick up another good win on the road.

After Austin built that 3-0 lead, Brookings came out and got a pair of quick goals to open the second period. Either the Bruins relaxed a bit, or Brookings really turned it on, or both. Drew Anderson's goal 5:45 into the period made it 4-2 Bruins, and Brookings didn't come closer than two goals again.

But, this is something Bruins coach Chris Tok has mentioned numerous times to me this season: Austin will be almost impossible to beat if it puts 60 minutes together. This is a deep, talented team, from its goalies on out. It's going to win this division and its depth (plus home-ice advantage) will be a huge plus in the postseason.

Anyhow, when a team is 26-5-5, I'm not going to spend anymore time nitpicking. That's a job for the coaches! Let's take a look around the Central Division:

ABERDEEN: The Wings are one of two teams in the Central to have already had a coaching change this season. Garrett Strot replaced Pete Sauer in mid-December after the Wings slipped into the cellar in the Central Division. Strot, a former head coach of the Coulee Region Chill, told the Aberdeen American News this week that he wants to turn the attitude around in the Wings' locker room. He was named one of Aberdeen's "13 to watch in '13," a list of newsmakers to keep an eye on in the Aberdeen area this year. … Strot has his work cut out; the Wings' biggest issue this year has been a lack of scoring. They've been outscored 132-79 and they have the worst power play (9.5%) and penalty kill (73.8%) in the entire NAHL.

AUSTIN: The Bruins are rolling. They have played some close games, but they've found ways to win those close ones all season. They're on a 9-0-2 stretch and haven't lost a game in regulation since Dec. 1, when they lost a 1-0 decision at Minot. A big reason for the continued improvement of the team is the play of its defensive corps. And second-year Bruin Jake Flynn is beginning to stand out among that group.

BISMARCK: With Austin's win over Brookings and Bismarck's win against Aberdeen on Friday, the Bobcats (20-13-2) moved into second place alone, 15 points behind Austin. Bismarck had an up-and-down first half, but it is 8-2-0 in its past 10 games, including a 4-2 win on the road against Aberdeen Friday. The Bobcats have received a boost from the return of big forward Ryan Callahan to the lineup.

BROOKINGS: Austin roughed up Blizzard goalie Drew Weigman for three first-period goals and five in the game on Friday. Weigman was coming off a strong week, when he won two times, stopped 46 of 48 shots, and was named the NAHL Central Divison Star of the Week. Weigman was the league's Goalie of the Month in September and has put up solid numbers (12-9-2, 2.67 GAA, .916 save pct., 3 shutouts). “Drew is back to his early season form and made some exceptional saves to keep us in the games,” Blizzard head coach Cory Laylin said.

COULEE REGION: The Chill picked up a nice win on Friday, falling behind 2-0 before rallying to beat Minot, 4-2, at Onalaska, Wis. Perhaps interim head coach A.J. Degenhardt, who's just 30 years old, can get things turned around for the Chill. Degenhardt recently replaced Jon Hamre as head coach of the Chill. Degenhardt, who played on the University of Wisconsin's 2006 national championship team, said one of the keys to success at the junior level is to learn how to deal with all of the different personalities in a locker room.

MINOT: The Minotauros had been red-hot for more than a month, climbing into second place at one point in the Central Division standings. Things have cooled in the Magic City in recent weeks, though. The Tauros are 3-3-1 over their last seven games and are averaging less than two goals per game over their last five. Minot's leading scorer, former Red Wing High School forward Jake OBorsky, has cooled off as of late. OBorsky has 27 points in 35 games, but has just one point (a goal) in the last six games.

January 11, 2013

PHERSY AND FATIS SHOW: Blades are back

PHERSY: The Phersy and Fatis Show returns today ... and we're breaking down last weekend's shootout loss to the Northern Lights along with tonight's game against the Steele County Blades.

The Ice Hawks have two games this weekend. They're hosting the Blades at 7:05 tonight and then they hit the road for a game against the Owls in Isanti on Sunday.

Enjoy the show!

PhersyandFatisShow011013



January 09, 2013

A bundle of hockey notes

Posted by: Feldman

It's been a news-filled week already for hockey fans and we're only at Wednesday afternoon.

Lots of local news with a local player committing to a D-I school, a big win for a Rochester high school team and a career game for an area player last night. Oh yeah, that lockout thing is over in the NHL, too. I know I can't wait to see Parise, Suter, Granlund, Konopka and Mitchell in Wild sweaters for the first time.

Lots to write about today, so here we go:

* P-B writer Paul Christian tracked down Rochester native Mark Stuart on Tuesday, as Stuart traveled from Florida (where he played with an ECHL team) to Winnipeg, where he has started workouts with his Jets teammates in anticipation of training camp starting this weekend at MTS Centre.

* Speaking of Stuart and the Jets, Bob McKenzie of TSN takes a look at the Jets in this preview. He mentions that Winnipeg will be thin on the blue line, and that Stuart will have to be ready to log some heavy ice time.

* Closer to home, Rochester native Tyler Vesel, the leading scorer for Shattuck St. Mary's top team, committed to Nebraska-Omaha yesterday. Vesel called UNO assistant coach Troy Jutting at about 6:30 p.m. yesterday to give him the news. Jutting, coincidentally, was in Rochester watching his sons play for Mankato West against Lourdes. 

* Speaking of Lourdes, senior forwards Jason Samuelson and Alex Funk are putting up some numbers that will be tough to top. Samuelson broke the school's all-time scoring record on Saturday, but Funk isn't too far behind.

* Austin High senior forward Marcus Stoulil had a career night in the Packers' 11-0 victory against Waseca. Stoulil opened the game with a natural hat trick in the first period. He finished the night with six goals and two assists. No, Waseca is not the strongest team around, but these are the type of games Austin hasn't won in recent seasons. It's nice to see Stoulil and the Packers (4-6-1) having a bit of success.

* One of the best girls hockey players in the state, Red Wing's Nicole Schammel, committed to play at Minnesota State, Mankato, on Sunday night. Schammel will play for Mavericks head coach Eric Means, a Rochester native.

* Former Lourdes defenseman Pete Spratte has hit more bad luck in his first season at Lake Superior State University. Most recently, Spratte has been sidelined by a wrist injury. He had surgery on it here in Rochester when he was home over Christmas break. I talked to him at the Kiwanis Festival and he said he hoped it only keeps him out three-four weeks. If it's much longer, he'll start talking to the LSSU coaching staff about a medical redshirt.

* Former Rochester Mayo standout defenseman Bill Norman has played in nine of 19 games for the University of Maine this season. He has no points and is a minus-5 with 15 shots on goal. The Black Bears have struggled to a 5-12-2 overall record and just 1-7-2 in Hockey East.

* A new Phersy and Feldy Show is up on this blog. We talk Vikings (wrap-up), Wild/NHL, high school hockey and some Ice Hawks.

* Another former Lourdes defenseman, Rory Vesel, is one of the top d-men for the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL. Vesel has three points in the past four games and is Plus-5 in that stretch. For the season, Vesel leads Bobcats' defensemen in shots on goal (53) and, from what I've told by people in the Bobcats organization, leads the team in blocked shots (a stat that isn't officially kept). Bismarck is currently tied for second in the NAHL Central Division.

* Former Century goalie Brock Kautz has seized the No. 1 goaltender job with the NAHL's Janesville (Wis.) Jets. Kautz is 11-11-3 with a 2.43 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. Janesville is in fifth place in the eight-team North Division, six points out of the final playoff spot. Kautz has won three of his last five starts and allowed just two goals in the other two games. After losing seven consecutive starts, Kautz is 5-3-1 in his past eight starts.

* Byron native D.J. Vold is tied for second in scoring on the Granite City Lumberjacks of the NA3HL. Vold, a team captain, has eight goals and 13 assists for the St. Cloud-based 'Jacks. Granite City (23-3-1) is in second place in the NA3HL North Division, three points behind North Iowa. The Jacks have two games in hand, however.

* Red Wing's Ryan Kesti has one goal in 13 games for Northern Michigan University of the CCHA. The Wildcats are 8-10-3 overall and 2-9-3 in the conference.