Personnel losses will force Thief River Falls coach Tim Bergland to undertake a major roster reconstruction project this winter. But the task of replacing 13 varsity players doesn’t seem to phase him. And the goals remain the same.
“We are always very excited to get the season going,” said Bergland. “Our goals are always to be competing for a section title and state tournament.”
There were a dozen seniors on last year’s team that won 24 games, captured a Section 8A title and went on to finish third at the Class A state tournament, including scoring record holder Ethan Johnson. Also gone is Brendan Bushy, a top defenseman and St. Cloud State recruit who has opted to spend his senior year playing in the Junior A United States Hockey League.
“We lost a large amount of quality seniors and will have numerous holes to fill,” acknowledged Bergland. “Our new guys will be put in these new roles and will have to be ready to accept them.”
The cupboard is not completely bare, pointed out Bergland. “We do have some key guys returning who had the opportunity to play in some very big roles and games last year,” he said.
That group includes senior defensemen Christian Larson and Brandon Gehrls; junior defenseman Brady Anderson; senior forward Zach Lee; and junior forward Aaron Myers.
“We will be inexperienced in many areas,” confessed Bergland, “but I feel we have some quality kids to step up. This should create competition in practice.”
Juniors Brandon Mack and Nick Corneliusen are looking to succeed Kade Nelson, one of last year’s seniors, in the Thief River Falls nets.
Others competing for roster spots are Danny Dicken, Dylan Defreece, Rudy Johnson, Trandon Lehrer, Parker Lane, Blaine Olson, Eric Buckley, Ethan Toso, Gabe Trudeau, Jace Jorde, Kaiden Quam, Kaleb Flaagen, Cole Gillespie, Jake Hall, Houston Blankenship, Blake Sunsdahl, Brady Berg, Gunnar Fellman, Hunter Tabatt, John Barry, Daltyn Quam, Ethan Janisch, Evan Bushy, Hunter Larson, Keadon Kempert and Alex Nelson.
Tuesday, Nov. 29 – at Roseau, 7 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 2 – at The Blake School, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 3 – at Totino-Grace, 3 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 9 – Tartan, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 13 – at Bemidji, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 20 – Warroad, 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Dec. 22 – at Crookston, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 23 – Hermantown, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday/Thursday, Dec. 27/29 – TRF REA Classic; Thursday, Jan. 5 – at Moorhead, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Jan. 10 – Park Rapids Area, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Jan. 17 – Kittson County Central, 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Jan. 19 – at Warroad, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 21 – Mahtomedi (at Stillwater-Hockey Day Minnesota), 10 a.m.; Tuesday, Jan. 24 – at East Grand Forks, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 27 – Duluth Denfeld, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 28 – Hibbing, 3 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 2 – Crookston, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 4 – St. Cloud Cathedral, 4 p.m.; Monday, Feb. 6 – Roseau, 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 9 – at Red Lake Falls, 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 14 – East Grand Forks, 7:30 p.m.