The Wingers have depth. What they want is to create scoring chances with anyone in their lineup.
In his second year as head coach of the Red Wing boys' hockey team, Tony Casci said last year he felt the team didn't create enough chances.
This year, he'd like to see that change.
"We're focusing on second and third efforts," Casci said. "If your first play doesn't work, what are you going to do to still get the puck in the net on the second and third effort that you have."
The Wingers return one of its top point-getters from last season in Gavin Lampe. He likely will lead the team this year. His linemates, center Taite Luhman and left wing Isaac French, form a fast moving first line for the Wingers.
French, an assistant captain and senior from Colorado, is one of the fastest skaters on the team and showed off his speed during the Wingers' home-opener against La Crescent-Hokah on Nov. 26.
Casci said Lampe has speed, too, and is extremely accurate with his shot when skating into the offensive zone. Now Lampe has speed on the opposite wing and a center in Luhman that works well in front of the net. It's a top line that Casci plans to keep together for the time being.
Senior Josh Rikli centers the second line with junior Matt Ramstad on the left side and sophomore Jack Dube on the right.
For the Wingers to create more chances, Casci said it's about getting net-front presence.
"It's not as exciting hockey. Setting things up and getting rebounds, not just scoring on the rush," Casci said. "You have to be able to score both ways."
One of the weaknesses of the Wingers last year was the power play. The team gave up a noticeable amount of shorthanded goals and found difficulty scoring with the man-advantage. The Wingers began 0-for-6 on the power play in the first two games of the season. During a practice on Monday, Nov. 25, the team was working on maneuvering the puck around on the power play.
"We can get the puck up ice, but we don't set things up and we're not in the right spot for rebounds," Casci said of the early struggles. "Then we're chasing the puck 200 feet again."
The simple fix: get to loose pucks.
"Get two guys on a loose puck. If the other team has two guys on the puck then we're going to put three guys on the puck."
On defense, the Wingers have senior captain Colton Quade along with Sam Delain.
In net, both goalies – senior assistant captain Aidan Coyle and sophomore Dixon Ehlers – return from last season. Who gets the majority of starts in net is yet to be determined.
"You have two different style goalies," Casci said. "Now that we've seen the teams (on our schedule this year) and we know who is coming back, it might be more situational."
The Wingers (1-2) head to Austin on Saturday.