Raiders’ defensive improvement gets mention for Adleman, Searles
ALL-GNC BOYS HOCKEY
Going from three wins to 13 wins overall, the Medford Raiders were certainly an improved hockey team. Nowhere was that improvement more evident than on the defensive end of the ice and that’s where Medford got some notice in the voting for the 2019-20 All-Great Northern Conference hockey teams.
Senior goal tender AJ Adleman and junior defenseman Logan Searles were among the 13 players to gain honorable mention from the league’s coaches following a season where Northland Pines again dominated the conference and wound up appearing in the inaugural WIAA Division 2 state championship game.
Medford’s awards come a year after no Raider won an award. Searles also gained honorable mention two years ago.
Medford finished 13-10-1 overall and went 2-8 in GNC games, going 1-6 with a shootout loss to Waupaca during the round-robin portion of the GNC schedule and then going 1-2 in the conference tournament with a 2-0 win at Rhinelander in the consolation semifinals and a 1-0 loss to Antigo in the fifth-place game on Feb. 15.
The overtime shootout with Waupaca was Medford’s tie in its overall record.
Adleman ended a successful two-year run as Medford’s starting goalie with a record-breaking season.
The senior was 13-9-1 between the pipes and set school records with five shutouts, an overall .908 save percentage and a 2.89 overall goals against average. He leaves as Medford’s career leader in shutouts with seven and career save percentage at .887. Through the round-robin portion of the GNC schedule, Adleman was ranked fifth among conference goal tenders with an .865 save percentage with 230 saves on 266 shots faced. That percentage went up to .894 when he had 114 saves and only five goals allowed in the GNC tournament.
Among some of his best GNC outings statistically were 33 saves in a 2-1 loss to Antigo Dec. 17, 44 saves in the 2-2 overtime tie with Waupaca before the Comets got him for two goals in the shootout, 35 saves in a 4-1 loss to eventual GNC tournament runner-up and Division 2 sectional finalist Mosinee, 42 saves in a 2-0 loss at Lakeland Jan. 20 and 42 saves in the 2-0 shutout win at Rhinelander in the GNC tournament.
His four non-conference shutouts came against East-Merrill United, Regis-Altoona-McDonell, the Shawano Co-op, and the Frederic-Grantsburg Co-op.
Searles finished with three goals and eight assists in 23 games played and only one of his points, an assist, came in conference play. His major contributions came in leading Medford’s team effort to keep traffic away from Adleman in front of the net.
Under first-year head coach Galen Searles, the Raiders made a dramatic defensive improvement in conference play and overall.
This year, Medford allowed 41 (4.1 per game) in GNC round-robin and tournament games compared to 72 (7.2 per game) last year and 15 of the goals surrendered this year came in one game at league-champion Northland Pines. In the other nine games, Medford’s defensive numbers dropped to 26 goals and just under three allowed per game.
Overall, Medford allowed 3.04 goals per game in 24 contests, down from 5.6 goals per game a year ago. The Raiders allowed the 15 goals to Pines, eight to Superior in their WIAA Division 2 regional final, seven to Rhinelander in their third game of the year and six at Marshfield in their sixth game of the year. In the other 20 games, Medford allowed just four goals or less.
This year’s All-GNC first team features three seniors and three juniors. Lakeland junior Collin Guelcher was named the top goalie ahead of last year’s first-teamer Brett Wilkins of Northland Pines and last year’s second-teamer Broden Bunnell of Antigo. Guelcher had an impressive .940 save percentage during the round-robin portion of the league schedule.
Lakeland junior Max Toijala, a unanimous pick at forward, was named the GNC Player of the Year. Mosinee senior Trey Fitzgerald and Northland Pines forward Brady Snedden were the other firstteam forwards.
Northland Pines junior Riley McGee was a unanimous pick on defense and was joined by Mosinee senior Benjamin Lardinois.
David Cox of Northland Pines was named Coach of the Year. The Eagles went a perfect 10-0 in GNC games for the second straight year and outscored GNC teams 89-7.
In the final GNC standings, Northland Pines finished with 16 points based on their round-robin and tournament finishes, Mosinee and Lakeland (13) tied for second, Waupaca (10) was fourth, Antigo (8) was fifth, Medford and Rhinelander (5) tied for sixth and Tomahawk (2) was eighth.