There was a different atmosphere as the Dickinson High hockey team stepped out onto the ice.
There was a crowd.
There was cheering.
There was just a different feeling.
It felt like the same atmosphere during the Bismarck Bobcats and Minot Minotauros NAHL hockey exhibition on Nov. 13.
Except this time, the fans were cheering for a group of 14 underclassmen and five seniors. The 19 players on the Midgets roster are seven more than last year.
“It gives guys time to rest and recover for the next shift,” Dickinson head coach Tom Folske said. “We’ve got the experience to help the younger kids along.”
Those underclassmen are good too. How good? Five out of the six goals were scored by sophomores and freshmen in a 6-0 shutout against Williston. The other goal was from junior Trevor Olheiser.
When Olheiser scored the opening goal in second period, the Dickinson Recreation Center had a little chatter.
It wasn’t until freshman Mike McChesney shoved in a rebound from senior Brendin Steiner when the place started getting louder.
“I knew Mike can play well,” Dickinson sophomore Mickey Folske said. “He’s outstanding player. He’s a different breed that’s for sure. I was expecting that from him.”
The more goals Dickinson scored, the louder the Rec Center became. Mickey Folske, the son of head coach Tom Folske, netted a pair of goals. Freshman Tate Martel and sophomore Andrew Heckman came on for the assists. Kass Dvorak added a goal in the second period.
“We are seeing our whole team working together,” McChesney said. “It’s not just one line doing all the work. It’s a whole team effort.”
Though the five seniors aren’t scoring goals, they are making the wheels turn. On McChesney’s two goals, senior captain Brendin Steiner had a two assists, while Jayden Mink had one assist.
“It’s nice, because Brendin and Jayden have a lot of experience,” McChesney said. “They can teach me to do the same thing when I get older, so I can help out the young kids too.”
The only apparent injury sidelining any player to start the season is to sophomore Collin Bren. The 6-foot-3 sophomore defenseman has a knee injury, but was walking around and stood in the Midgets’ bench during the game.
The win against Williston is nice, but like Tom Folske said in my Dickinson Press article — its only one step. But it’s a step in the right direction.
Dickinson can’t take this win and think it’s good enough. It’s good the Midgets opened the season with a win. But at the same time, the team is very talented that they will still have to battle day-in and day-out.
“This game (6-0 win over Williston) is one step,” Tom Folske said. “We have 20 more games in the regular season. This one step and they are all steps in earning respect.”
It will be important to keep the same level of intensity and keep the chip of being picked last in the state and in the West Region on their shoulders.
“No one likes to be picked last,” Dickinson senior goalie Jamison Gray said. “We just tried to make a statement on Tuesday.”