2019-20 Boys Hockey Preview

In the last 3 years, Holy Family boys hockey has become something of a dynasty. As the smallest school in class AA, the Fire, lead by coach Noel Rahn, have made it to 3 section finals. The only problem is that all 3 games were lost, crushing the chance at a state tournament. In 2017, Wisconsin Commit Ben Almquist, with future Minnesot-Duluth player Matt Anderson, and Ohio State player James Marooney, along with Jared Moe, who was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets, and currently starts for the University of Minnesota, lead the team into the section final. The game was against the Eden Prairie Eagles, with Minnesota commits Jack Jenson and Casey Mittelstadt, who currently plays for the Buffalo Sabers in the NHL, and Current Notre Dame Starter Nick Leivermann. Leivermann slid what ended up being the game winning goal into the back of the net to take the lead with 7 minutes left. In the offseason, St. Cloud State commit Garrett Pinoniemi, joined the team, along with Conan Hayton from Denver, Colorado. Along with fellow St. Cloud State commit Brady Ziemer, Pinoniemi, as just a sophomore, rose through the ranks, becoming a top forward on the team, along with Almquist. After cruising  through the season and playoffs, they faced perhaps the the best team in the state in Minnetonka. Amazing games play by Hayton and senior Jack Haley ended up not being enough, as the Fire lost in overtime. The arrival of Bailey Huber from Mahtomedi, and Lucas Jorgenson from Orono, and Pinoniemi re-commiting to Minnesota over the summer of 2018 revamped the life of the team. Captains Pinoniemi, Danny Reddan, Nikolai Charchenko, and Michael Spinner provided leadership to a team full of underclassmen. After knocking off Minnetonka, who was ranked the top team in state, in one of the biggest upsets in MN high school hockey history, the Fire played Eden Prairie again in the finals. A defensive heavy game ended in the Fire tragically losing again. This year, with Minnetonka, and fellow heavyweight Chaska not having the same firepower in past years, and a young Eden Prairie team, this could be the year that HF makes It the the State Tournament.


Forwards- Senior captain Garrett Pinoniemi was supposed to lead the team this year, and be vying for a Mr. Hockey nomination. All that changed when Pinoniemi decided to leave Holy Family and play in the USHL with the Sioux Falls Stampede. Jorgenson, a senior captain now, and Arizona State commit Trey Fechko, who both combined for 34 goals and 57 assists last season, will be the centerpieces for the Fire offense. As the most clutch Holy Family player last season, scoring the winning goals in the Prior Lake and Minnetonka section games, Ben Reddan will be relied on for his sharpshooting again. Junior forwards Nick Strand, Jacob McPartland, Grant Limke, and Charlie Lindeberg, combining for 13 points last season, will be expected to replace last years seniors, like Cole Wilson and Sawyer Schugel. Sharp shooting and hard hitting sophomore Nick Blood will be another important piece, coming off an impressive fall campaign with the Minnesota Blades. Also, look for quick sophomores Tyler Heise and Jake Cameron to get playing time as well. Upperclassmen Gavin Lindemann and Marc Lund, although playing JV for the most of last season, will be weapons for the deep Fire offense.


Defense- Over the spring, junior defender Luke Roelofs won the world championship with the Blue Army hockey club at the World Selects Invitational, and also was a big piece for TCO team during the Elite League this fall. Pure-muscled senior captain Jaden Anderson, recording 3 assists last season, will be the leader of the defensive core. Spencer Lewin will be another key piece. He played forward last season, grabbing 5 goals and 5 assists. Juniors Bishop Schugel and Noel Rahn Jr., although being swing players last year, will be more solid varsity players this year. Eden Prairie transfer from 2 years ago, Petr Van Voorhis will also finally be able to play on varsity of his absence due to the MSHSL transfer rule.


Goaltenders- This year, juniors Dylan Halliwill and Alex Pellicci will both be trying out for the starting job. Pellicci, committed to Harvard, will be the first female hockey player on the boys team in school history. Last year for the girls team, she averaged only 1.76 goals against her per game, and a .942 save percentage, good enough for 4th in the state. Halliwill, only playing one full game last year, saved 20 of the 21 shots he received. In case of an injury to Halliwill or Pellicci, sophomore Lucas Rice will be the 3rd goalie.