030119_dr_north_14a

North’s Joey Koller celebrates his frist period goal against Verona during state hockey at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison on Feb. 28.

Big Rivers

Chippewa Falls’ top two scorers from last year, Isaac Lindstrom and Isaac Frenette, should keep the Cardinals among the contenders in the BRC. The third member of their 2018-19 trio, Jack Schimmel, graduated, and there’s big shoes to fill in net with the graduation of all-conference first-teamer Jaden Hoople. Tyler Bohland, Blake Trippler and Cole Bowe lead the defensive unit. Chi-Hi finished tied for second in the league last season but was eliminated in the postseason by Eau Claire North. ... Eau Claire Memorial only lost six players to graduation from a team that earned a BRC title last year. While that includes first-team all-conference defender Gunnar Leary and honorable mention Kaden Kohlhepp, the Abes’ other three all-conference players are back: first-team forward Max Savaloja, second-team goalie Joe Berg and honorable mention forward Joe Kelly. Savaloja finished third in the league in scoring last year, only trailing Eau Claire North’s two Division I prospects. Also back is for his senior year is Carter Ottum, who saw his point total jump 13 points to 33 from his sophomore to junior season. Memorial looks to get back to form after getting eliminated in the sectional semifinals by Hayward, ending a nine-year streak of state tournament appearances. ... Eau Claire North will need a change in identity after losing its two future Badgers, Sam Stange to graduation and Zach Urdahl to the United States Hockey League. They accounted for about 50% of the Huskies points last season. Their former linemate Joey Koller is the top returning point producer, coming off a 50-point season as a junior. The Huskies earned their first trip to the state tournament last year since 2006. They fell in the quarterfinals in Madison to Verona. Jaxon Vance, Jack Echternach and Johan Akervik are moving up the offensive depth chart this season. ... Hudson is under new management as former Raider Jake Drewiske takes over at his alma mater. The first-time coach is a former pro and Division I player at St. Lawrence. The Raiders’ fourth-place finish last year was the team’s worst this decade. Their top two players last year, defenseman Carter Maack and forward Cole Danielson, graduated, but Hudson does return scoring talent. The new group is led by the team’s second and third leading scorers last year, Peyton Hanson and Harvey Dove. ... Menomonie is looking for a bounceback year after going winless in conference play last season. Coach Matt Ellis said the Mustangs are looking for a 10-win season, a four-game improvement from last year, and hope to make a push for the first ever Division 2 state tournament. They are led by Kaleb Miller, an all-conference honorable mention last year after notching 35 points. Two other players return who had double-digit points last year: Zach DeMarce (15 points) and Claysen Cook (10). ... Rice Lake returns its top three scorers, including leader Riley Strohm (21 points) and defender Ben Kemp, an all-conference honorable mention. The Warriors, who head north to Superior for their D2 sectional, went 2-8-0 in BRC play last year and were eliminated in the postseason with a 7-1 loss to Eau Claire Memorial. ... River Falls, led by new head coach Brent Swanson, returns second-team all-conference defender Joe Stoffel. The Wildcats lost their top two scorers, so they’ll need junior Max Rotsaert to step up. River Falls went 3-9-0 in conference last year and fell in the first round, 7-6, to New Richmond.

Middle Border

Baldwin-Woodville went undefeated in Middle Border play last year but needs to reload after losing its top six scorers from last year, including 40-point producers Jake Carlson and Alex Bishop. Wyatt Sundby, who notched 24 points as a junior, is the most proven scorer left. Jacob Anderson, who played the second most minutes of the four goalies the Warriors used, went 4-0-0 as a sophomore. ... ... RAM, previously known as the longform Regis/Altoona/McDonell, has a new look but returns three of its five double-digit scorers from last season. With the graduation of Nolan Hellegers, the group is now led by senior Nick Madson of Regis. He notched 20 points in 21 games as a junior. He’ll be joined by Bennett Seelen and Payton Mayer, who both made an impact as sophomores. Altoona’s Dane Engstrom takes over goalie duties from the graduated Keaton Comero. Now a D2 program, RAM was eliminated last year with an 11-0 loss to Eau Claire North.

Independents

The Northwest Icemen are coming off a 12-win season, a seven-win improvement from the year prior. Wyatt Boe of Barron, the team’s top scorer last year, is back after notching 34 points as a junior. He isn’t the only established weapon back, as the only double-digit scorer lost to graduation was Colton Avery. Timothy Mirabal and Jordan Aronson are coming off 20-point plus seasons. Connor Morrison takes over goalie duties.

— Jack Goods