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Paynesville Press - November 28, 2001

Stars aim to improve

By Michael Jacobson

The River Lakes Stars boys' hockey team - who hit the ice at Sartell on Thursday for their season opener - hope to continue the winning ways they discovered at the end of last season.

The team - which has players from Albany, Paynesville, New London-Spicer, and Rocori this year - lost six games by one goal during the first half of the season a year ago and sported a 4-12 record before winning four of its final six games and ending 8-14.

The Stars return five of its top six scorers from last year and sophomore goalie Blake Theisen, who stopped 89 percent of the shots he faced a year ago. Theisen had a 3.74 goals against average and won eight games.

The top returning scorer is senior wing Andrew Schmitt, who had 14 points a year ago, including 12 assists. Derek Dahlen, another senior wing, scored nine goals last year and had 11 points, as did senior defenseman Darren Stommes.

Stommes and Schmitt are captains this year. Junior forward Kyle Curran will be an alternate captain. In all, the team has 29 players, including seven seniors and nine juniors. Twenty-two players are from Rocori.

Paynesville has only one player on the team this year: junior goalie Justin Hartfiel. Hartfiel stopped 34 shots last year in limited action.

Coaching the Stars again this year is Kevin Mooney. He will be assisted by Mark Engquist, Blair Hovell, and Joel Baumgarten.

The team opens with three road games, including their opener at Sartell on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 5:30 p.m. They also play at Elk River next Tuesday, Dec. 4.

The Stars will play their first home game at the Koronis Civic Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 11, against Sleepy Eye. In all, they will play three games in Paynesville, and the rest of their home games in Richmond.

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