NEW ULM - Twelve games into the New Ulm boy's hockey team's season with a 7-5 record, coach Erik Setterholm feels his biggest concern about his team is that it has played inconsistently.
"We play really well for one or two periods but we have not put it all together yet," Setterholm said. "We do have a little bit of inexperience. I think that it is one of those things as we progress through the year, we are missing a couple of kids off of last year's team. It always takes a little bit to build everything back up."
The Eagles are still looking at trying to get balanced scoring on his team.
"We have taken steps toward that lately," Setterholm said. "We have not made any line changes - we have kind of let that go as far as our [No.] 1, 2 and 3 lines. We are trying to get that some time to jell."
The top line for New Ulm right now consists of Brandon Helget (12 goals and nine assists), Wyatt Petersen (6-12) and Judd Davis (8-9).
"But our second line has really turned it around and has put the puck in the net as well," Setterholm said of Colin Huffman (5-4), Jon Kopacek (10-6) and Ethan Kraus (4-2).
New Ulm's third line consists of Jonah Cooper, Jared Beltz and Cole Reinarts.
Of those nine players, only Davis and Reinarts are seniors.
"Our third line is more of a gritty, grind-it-out line," Setterholm said. "They grind it out and play physical. We are not asking them to put the puck in the net - we want them to play good defense and do what they can do to give other lines rest during a game. And be a good, hard, forechecking third line."
FERGUS FALLS TAKEAWAYS: Setterholm said he was happy with his team's 2-1 record in the Fergus Falls Tournament with wins against Fergus Falls 2-1 and West Fargo 6-3 before losing to Park Rapids 4-2.
"We played well except for that third game," Setterholm said. "Not to take anything away from Park Rapids, which is a good team at 11-2."
New Ulm is now on the latter part of a nine-game road trip that continues at Rochester Lourdes on Thursday, the Blake School on Saturday and then LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter next Tuesday before returning home Jan. 18 to host Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato.
"The game at St.Peter has been circled since we lost to them here," Setterholm said. "That will be a big game for us to at least stay in the hunt for a share of the South Central Conference title."
Lourdes is ranked No. 19 in Class A by Let's Play Hockey with Blake ranked No. 15.
CHARGERS BOY'S BETTER: Minnesota Valley Lutheran boy's basketball coach Craig Morgan said he was hoping to be better than his current 4-7 record.
"We have had unforced errors that have caused us to give the other team opportunities to score and for us to lose ballgames," Morgan said.
MVL's overtime loss to Sleepy Eye St. Mary's was tough to stomach.
"We had the lead for quite a bit of the game but then we made some mistakes down the stretch that allowed them to come down and score," Morgan said.
Senior Chad Lease has been Mr. Dependable for the Chargers so far, according to Morgan.
"He has played outstanding for us," Morgan said. "He works hard for us offensively and defensively. He is our floor leader."
Morgan said he does not have a set starting five outside of Lease, which makes for intense practices as players work to be in the starting lineup.
"We battle for starting spots every day," Morgan said. "We are usually playing nine or 10 guys each game depending on who is healthy. It does not matter if you start or not, you are going to get some playing time."
The coach said his biggest hope for improvement from his team will be in taking care of the basketball.
"We have to many turnovers," Morgan said. "Our free-throw shooting has been getting better but that still needs to improve."