Depth continues to be a problem for Richfield High School’s boys hockey program.
The Spartans will not have a junior varsity program again this year. And Richfield’s varsity squad will have to rely on 16 players.
But Richfield head coach Mark Johnson and his assistants are working hard to rebuild the program.
“We believe we can keep the boys hockey program going at Richfield High,” said coach Johnson. “We have a lot of people working hard with our youth hockey program and I have been impressed with our community involvement.”
Johnson has been a Richfield assistant coach for the past three seasons under John Christ, who resigned from the head coaching position after last season.
Richfield’s assistant coaches are Rob Larson, Jake McCoy and Matt Herrity.
Richfield’s co-captains are junior defenseman Jack Stellon and senior forward Kevin Krohn.
The Spartans enter the season with three lines. Junior Trigve Duryea will center one line consisting of wingers Kody and Kevin Ahlstrand, both juniors.
Krohn centers another Richfield line made up of forwards Joe Richards (ninth-grader) and McCoy Jessen (junior).
The Spartans’ other line consists of junior center Alexander Maki and forwards Andrew Allen (senior) and Zach Kruegar (junior).
Richfield’s defensemen are Stellon, senior Alex Mendele, sophomore Bailey Olson and junior Drew Saastad.
Richfield’s goalies are juniors Zach Ulmer and John Meyer.
“Our players are learning how to work together and have positive attitudes,” said coach Johnson. “They know what they are up against but are hard workers.”
Richfield will play Classic Suburban Conference foes once each this season except for Henry Sibley and Simley. The Spartans battle those two league squads twice.
Richfield opened its season with a 7-1 loss to Achiever Academy Nov. 29. Duryea scored the Spartan goal with assistance from Kevin Ahlstrand.
Ulmer tended goal for the Spartans and finished with 26 saves.
Richfield (0-2) dropped a 10-1 decision to St. Paul Academy Dec. 1. Duryea scored the Spartans’ lone goal with help from Kevin Ahlstrand and Stellon.
Spartan goalie John Meyer was kept busy making 53 saves.