The St. Thomas club hockey team hopes to pick up an early win when Robert Morris College visits this Friday at Parade Ice Gardens in Minneapolis.
The team is fresh off a week of tryouts, returning 13 players to the 24-man roster. Captains Erik Fryklund and Mike Iverson feel that the team is skilled enough to continue the success the young club team has enjoyed in past years.
Last year the team was one win away from going to nationals, falling in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) regional final to DePaul University.
Iverson feels that the team is continuing its progress and hopes it can make the national tournament this season.
“Every year we have been one step closer, we have been to regions every year and last year we were one game away,” Iverson said. “I don’t see why we can’t do it this year.”
Fryklund is one of the top three scorers from last year’s team, ending the season with 21 goals and 16 assists.
This year, the Tommies should not lack any offensive burst. Anthony Dimke and Adam Trissler can both create some offense after both racked up 16 goals and 19 assists a piece last year.
Fryklund said that with two complete forward lines back together again, this year the team should play well early on.
“I play with Fryklund and [Tim] Witham…and have never played with anyone else [at St. Thomas],” Iverson said.
Fryklund and Iverson are just two of the seven players on the team’s roster who played high school hockey at Eden Prairie. Senior captain Blake Gauer is another Eden Prairie alum and has been a captain since joining the team freshman year.
According to coach Don Bell, new players on the team have stepped up and shown a lot of potential.
“I was a little worried going into tryouts,” Bell said. “The numbers were a lot lower than previous years, but I have been impressed with the new guys so far. They work hard and are very skilled.”
Bell has been coaching the St. Thomas club team since it formed in 2004.
“If it weren’t for [Bell] none of this would be possible,” Iverson said. “He does all the scheduling, talks to all the other coaches, gets us ice time, and coaches by volunteering.”
Bell said that he volunteers because the guys are fun to be around and he just enjoys helping out the team.
“It is just more relaxed than the varsity team, and though it is still competitive, it is nice to let the guys play,” he said.
Iverson expects that the Tommies will continue to score a lot this season, building off last year when the team finished with 159 goals.
The team has back-to-back home games this weekend against Robert Morris College. St. Thomas was able to beat Morris last year, but Bell said it will provide a good first test for the team.
Brian Matthews can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org