Boys hockey preview: Storm shoot for Amsoil
Last season left a bad taste in North Shore coach Mike Guzzo's mouth.
The Storm finished with a losing record at 10-14-3, something that hadn't happened since the Two Harbors and Silver Bay hockey programs combined in 2013.
"We're coming off our first losing season as a Storm hockey team, which makes me a little hungry," Guzzo said. "In our six years as a program, we've never had a losing season before."
North Shore did rally to pick up a 2-0 win over Proctor in the Section 7A tournament before falling 8-1 to eventual champion Hermantown in the quarterfinals.
The Storm graduated a number of top players last year, but they also return players that combined to score more than 30 goals in 2017-18.
"We graduated a lot, you know," Guzzo said. "But that's the nice thing about North Shore Storm hockey, is you've got a lot of returning players and you can stay pretty competitive from one year to the next."
Mason Meyer is the Storm's leading returning scorer, with 11 goals and 10 assists last year. North Shore also returns Cole Komarek and Connor Somnis, who each scored six goals in the 2017-18 season, and Wyatt Haugan, who had four goals and 12 assists.
Even Peyton Westerlund, who was "in and out of the lineup" last season, according to Guzzo, but still accounted for six goals — all of which means the Storm plan to attack and try to put pressure on opposing defenses.
"We're going to play aggressively," Guzzo said. "Our plan is to play an aggressive floor check and play puck control and play offense. That's just the way I coach. We try to score goals. More people are happy if you score a few goals than if you don't score."
While it will be a bit much to expect North Shore to catch Hermantown, which has won the last five Section 7A crowns, Guzzo hopes to get his team into the top four teams in the section and potentially a spot in the section semifinals at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
North Shore will drop the puck on the 2018-19 season at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, against Mound-Westonka/Watertown-Mayer in Mound.