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FACE-OFF TIME Members of the 2021-22 Fairmont Area Cardinals boys hockey team traveling to Le Sueur on Tuesday, November 30 for the season opener against Minnesota River include: Ilana Moeller, Nate Rakness, Brock Lutterman, Isaiah Lockwood, assistant coach Matt Lytle, head coach Dylan VanBrocklin, assistant coach Roger Claeys, Dominic Hegdal, Alexander Moeller and Carson Johnson. Middle row: Lincoln Becker, Jace Prindle, Jace Teveldal, Alec Reutzel, Hartley Aust, Beau Becker, Nikolas Flanagan and Luke Kester. Back row: Tyson Pankow, Matthew Steuber, Lucas Flohrs, Hank Artz, Thomas Claeys, Hudson Artz, Eli Anderson, Mathew Cone and Connor Gronewald. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — The recently completed fall athletic seasons have already taken their toll on the hockey roster of Fairmont Area head coach Dylan VanBrocklin.

Eli Anderson, the Cardinals’ lead points producer, goalscorer and assist distributor during the 2021 Covid condensed ice campaign, awaits the outcome of an MRI exam after sustaining a leg injury during the Fairmont football team’s recent postseason run .

“Eli is versatile, so he can play defensively for us or we can use him in a forward position,” said VanBrocklin in reference to Anderson, who generated 17 points last winter from eight goals and nine assists. “Now all we can do is wait and see what the results of the MRI are and move forward from there.”

Junior striker Kaiden Musser, who produced five goals and four assists in the 2021 season, broke his leg while playing quarterback for the Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman football team in October and will also start this season on the reserve list of the United Nations. cardinals. .

“We have two broken legs and we haven’t even stepped on the ice for a game,” VanBrocklin said in a reference to goalkeeper Isaiah Lockwood’s health status. “Isaiah was our bantam goalkeeper last year, but he broke his leg while playing football this fall. So he’s on crutches and recovering, but he may still not be able to play this season.”

Unfortunately for VanBrocklin, he started his second varsity season at Fairmont Area’s hockey helmet last January without a tested goalkeeper due to the departure of Carsen Musser. Carsen Musser, who amassed an incredible 877 saves for the Cardinals during the 2019-20 prep campaign, dropped out of Minnesota high school because he got the chance to play for a 15U AAA hockey program in Michigan.

Then-junior Rachel O’Connor made the sacrifice of transitioning from the Cardinal girls’ hockey program to fill the void between the legs for the boys’ team last winter.

With O’Connor returning to play her senior season with the Fairmont Area girls program and Lockwood on the shelf for now, VanBrocklin will open the season on Tuesday, Nov. 30 with sophomore Carson Johnson in the net, with freshman Ilana Moeller as his backup. .

“If nothing else, we’re making history as the only boys’ hockey program in the state where two different girls play goalkeeper for us in consecutive seasons,” said VanBrocklin with a chuckle. “Carson will be our starter and hopefully we can get Ilana some experience in the net during some junior varsity scrimmages this winter.”

While VanBrocklin hopes the revolving door will stop, he is opening his third season as head coach with a solid returning skating core.

Senior Captain Alexander Moeller will rejoin Eli Anderson as the Cardinals’ likely front-line defenders, while Senior Captain Hudson Artz will join forces with junior Brock Lutterman and Tyson Pankow in the front positions.

Lutterman generated 14 points last season from seven goals and seven assists, while Hudson Artz delivered 10 points from seven goals and three assists.

Senior Alec Reutzel, who scored five goals and provided seven assists in 2021, will combine stick-handling and marksmanship with juniors Hartley Aust and Nate Rakness as the Cardinals’ second line-up, while freshmen Hank Artz and junior Lincoln Becker will fill the flanks. flank. goalkeeper back on the defensive.

“We really haven’t practiced much yet, so we’ll have to wait and see how our third and fourth line take shape,” said VanBrocklin. “There’s nothing like jumping right in (the schedule).

“We’re going from no games to three in one week, straight off the parachute.”

Fairmont Area heads to Le Sueur on Tuesday, Nov. 30 to overlook the Minnesota River—a shared program between Le Sueur-Henderson and St. Peter.

The Cardinals then return home to Martin County Arena in Fairmont to play host to Big South rival Waseca on Thursday, December 2 and against Rochester Lourdes on Saturday, December 4.

“One of our biggest goals is to compete in every game”, said VanBrocklin. “Then we want to win one or two playoffs and keep things rolling in a positive direction going forward.”

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