GREAT NORTHERN CONFERENCE BOYS ….
GREAT NORTHERN CONFERENCE BOYS HOCKEY STANDINGS Conf. Conf. Overall W-L Pts. W-L-T Lakeland 0-0 0 1-0-0 Tomahawk 0-0 0 1-0-0 Northland Pines 0-0 0 0-0-0 Waupaca 0-0 0 0-0-0 Rhinelander 0-0 0 0-0-0 Antigo 0-0 0 0-0-0 Mosinee 0-0 0 0-0-0 Medford 0-0 0 0-0-0 Nov. 22: Lakeland 8, Chequamegon Co-op 0. Nov. 25: Tomahawk 8, Chequamegon Co-op 7 (OT). Nov. 26: Medford at Shawano, Lakeland at Rhinelander, Tomahawk at Merrill Co-op, D.C. Everest at Northland Pines, Mosinee at Baraboo-Portage. Nov. 29: Waupaca vs. Brookfield Co-op at Sheboygan South Co-op tournament.
Nov. 30: Waupaca at Sheboygan South Co-op tournament, Fond du Lac at Antigo.
Dec. 1: Waupaca at Sheboygan South Co-op tournament.
Dec. 3: Wisconsin Rapids at Waupaca, Lakeland at Merrill Co-op, Rhinelander at Chequamegon Co-op.
Dec. 5: Northland Pines at Rhinelander, Lakeland at Tomahawk, Antigo at Merrill Co-op, Chequamegon Co-op at Mosinee.
Searles said. “He’s always working to try to get better. I expect he’ll have a great season. Hopefully we’ll have a strong group in front of him to help him do his job.”
The solid core of five defensemen who will see the most time to start the year includes seniors Dalton Hraby and Austin Waldhart, juniors Logan Searles and Warryck Leonhardt and freshman Miles Searles. Logan Searles earned honorable mention in the Great Northern Conference as a freshman as a defenseman and had three goals and 10 assists last year. Hraby, Waldhart and Leonhardt are multi-year letter winners while Miles Searles has come up through the youth ranks and is ready to contribute.
“Hopefully they can keep the puck away from the front of the net,” coach Searles said.
Offensively, the Raiders have some when you’re passing it. So we’ve been really focusing on our passing.”
Adding to this year’s depth are returning seniors Conner Carbaugh and Brody Brunner, junior newcomer Alex Gilbertson, returning sophomores Colbe Bull and Ben Brunner and freshman Jake Noland. Foreign exchange students Marvin Abram from Switzerland and Taksaphol Wongsaen from Thailand are also giving the sport a try.
Everyone is hoping it all adds up to a season that will be better than Medford’s 3-19 that included an 0-7 record in Great Northern Conference round-robin play, three losses in the GNC tournament and a tough 4-3 loss to the Altoona Co-op in a game Medford led 3-0 in the third period in the first round of WIAA tournament play.
Two of last year’s wins came against the Chequamegon Co-op, who the Raiders will see twice in a quick span between Jan. 23 and 31. The other came against the Viroqua Co-op, who Medford visits on Dec. 28.
The second annual GNC tournament starts with first-round games on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Round two is Feb. 11 and Northland Pines will host the placement games on Saturday, Feb. 15.
Northland Pines is the defending tournament and overall conference champion. The Eagles were a perfect 10-0 in league games, while Waupaca was second in the round-robin games and the tournament.
This year also marks the debut of a two-division WIAA tournament. There are 32 teams in Division 2. The Raiders are in an eight-team sectional bracket that still has perennially strong programs like Superior, Hayward, New Richmond, Rice Lake and the Amery Co-op. But the Raiders won’t have any chance of seeing big-city powers like Eau Claire Memorial and North or Chippewa Falls like years past.