Junior Midget hockey team is going strong

This article submitted by Kurt Habben on 1/7/97.

The Paynesville Junior Midget hockey team is playing strong with 16 players. Seniors on the team this year are Darren Michaelis, Jason Schlecht, Kirk Olson, and Nick Moore. Juniors on the team include Jeff Jacobson, David Sorum, Chris Soine, and Tim Knaap; sophomores are John Manthei, Dale Thelen, Dustin Looman, Ryan Mackedanz, Jeremy Curran, and Kurt Habben; freshmen, Eric Hartfiel and Jonathan Kulzer.

Facing Wayzata in their first tune up, Paynesville showed a lot of promise with an impressive victory 6-2. Then they took a long bus trip to face Bemidji at Bemidji. Paynesville played hard with excellent goal tending by John Manthei, but fell short 5-4. Dustin Looman had all four goals. The last scrimmage came against Crosby with a 4-2 close game loss.

The team started off their regular season with a tournament in Watertown, S.D. They faced a determined Wayzata team in their first game, playing even with them the first two periods. But in the third it was all Paynesville, winning the game 9-4. In the second game, the team faced a fierce rival in Cold Spring, with Cold Spring getting the bounces to win 6-4. In the third game they faced Watertown. Paynesville dominated them with a solid offense and good defense which had been hard to come by in the tournament. Paynesville won the game 9-2.

Early in December the team played their first metro league game against Wayzata. Everyone played hard with a great defensive performance, but Paynesville could only score once tying them 1-1. The next game came Orono at home. Paynesville responded well to the crowd and won 5-2. Paynesville then played the toughest team they have yet faced in the metro league, Minnetonka. The game was very defensive minded and Paynesville had trouble scoring, losing 3-1.

The next contest came against Bloomington. The team was in a bind when goalie Jason Schlecht and Darren Michaelis got lost and arrived late so the team decided to have Tim Knaap fill in with no pads until they arrived. Tim played like he had always been playing goalie, allowing an amazing one goal in almost two periods. Paynesville held the lead for most of the game, winning 6-2. The next win came against St. Cloud, a very quick and arrogant team. In a flip-flop game Paynesville won 3-2. On Dec. 29, the team went to play Edina at Breck. Breck was a very small rink and they had trouble getting used to it, getting called for many off-side violations. After trailing early Paynesville got a head of steam and won 4-2.

The team record is 4-1-1 in league play, 6-2-1 total. The Junior Midgets next game is Jan. 8 at home against Buffalo at 7 p.m. Fan support is very welcome. Hope to see you there!

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