Seniors Make Impact on Owatonna Boys Hockey Season
The Owatonna boys hockey roster was filled with nine seniors for the 2018-19 season. One of their biggest contributions to the season was how they welcomed in the younger players on a club that lettered nine sophomores at Sunday's Blue Line Club Banquet at the Owatonna Country Club.
Head coach Josh Storm said the seniors did a stellar job tying together the squad and putting the team first. He said the seniors were great leaders on and off the ice. While four of the top five scorers for the season were sophomores and a junior, the seniors added big goals and solid play all winter long.
The Huskies finished 16-10-1 overall and were second in the Big Nine standings. OHS won a section quarterfinal game for the third straight season and had their best outing against Lakeville North in the playoffs in Storm's tenure. He said the team was not intimidated by the Panthers and went into their semifinal game with a winning attitude.
Owatonna won the Duluth Heritage Holiday Tournament for the first time. Storm was very pleased with the Huskies' 2.48 goals-against-average, saying, "You win with defense." He also said Stick it to Cancer Night was a success. He was impressed with volunteering the team did with youth hockey teams, Toys for Tots and a senior center in town.
Each senior was highlighted during the banquet.
Drake Gieseke (jersey #3, 3G-3A=6 points) won the Hobey Baker Character Award and the Ken Wilcox Award for putting the team above himself and for his work with youth hockey. Gieseke, a three-year letter winner, scored the game-winning, overtime goal against Mankato West in the finals of the Heritage Tournament.
Evan Steinberg (#8, 7-5=12) and Tommy Lehrer (#28, 6-3=9) shared the Dudley Otto Most Improved Awards. Steinberg, a three-year letter winner, scored goals against Rochester Mayo, Northfield and Mankato East. Lehrer scored the opening goal in the playoff win over Century. He also scored in the season-opening, four-point win at Albert Lea.
Andrew Munns (#9, 6-7=13) earned the Ken Austin Leadership Award. Munns had two assists in the win at Albert Lea and scored goals against Century and Northfield. He did a great job on the penalty kill as well.
Luke Kubicek (#14, 8-15=23) was named the Lee Harra Most Valuable Senior in a vote by his teammates. He had big points against Rochester JM and against the Scarlets in Duluth. Kubicek had 15 goals and 24 assists in his three-year career for 39 points.
Jacob Stoykovich (#13, 7-9=16) had a four-point game against Austin and scored goals against Lakeville North, Rochester Mayo, South St. Paul and Century.
Mason Oland (#17, 1-6=7) was a three-year letter winner and logged a ton of minutes this season, playing every other shift and on penalty kill and the power play. He had an assist on the first goal against Century in the playoff upset win.
Mathew DeHaan (#20, 4-2=6) also assisted on the first goal against Century in the sections. He was the least penalized defenseman for the Huskies and scored his goals against Mankato East and Northfield.
Easton Sletten (#33, goalie, 6-1 record, 1.86 goals against, .858 saves percentage) got his first varsity win in the season-opening game at Albert Lea and had a shutout against Faribault.
Kubicek and Sletten were named Big Nine Scholar Athletes.
Junior letter winners include Collin Pederson, Austin Mundt and Zach Wiese. Sophomore letter winners are Dominic Valento, Zackary Kirsh, Wyatt Oldefendt, Zachary Kubicek, Casey Johnson, Sam Sampson, Aaron Bangs, Brody Homan, True Gieseke, plus managers Julia Dietz, Sammie Spears and Brittany Sackett.
Luke Kubicek, Valento, Johnson and Wiese were named All Big Nine. Zach Kubicek earned All-Conference Honorable Mention.
Junior varsity highlights included exciting come-from-behind wins against Rochester Mayo and Mankato West, a seven-game stretch where the Huskies outscored their opponents 58-10 and three shutouts on the season. OHS averaged nearly 4.5 goals per game over the winter.