With most sports on hold and the 2020-21 season still months out, it’s time to take a look at teams from all over the State of Hockey and examine what happened this past season and what’s ahead. The next team we’re breaking down is Northfield.
How last season went
In recent years, the Raiders have consistently found themselves near the top of the standings in the Big Nine Conference. That was no different last season. Northfield used a five-game win streak starting at the end of December to keep in the race for the conference crown.
It was a tough race and Northfield finished third in the conference standings and posted a 15-9 regular season record.
While some of the Raiders’ conference rivals competed in Class 1A, Northfield had the task of playing in Section 1AA. The Raiders’ quarterfinal matchup was against No. 2 seed Lakeville North. The Panthers knocked out Northfield with a 5-2 win.
Who’s gone and who’s back
When the Raiders return to the ice, there will likely be some offensive talent on the ice with previous experience and previous success. That includes Carson Van Zuilen, who tallied 16 goals and 39 assists last season and Spencer Klotz. He finished the season with 50 points (28 goals, 22 assists).
As for skaters graduating and moving on from the program, Josh Kruger and Teague Nelson appear to be the most dramatic departures. They leave after combining for 18 goals and 34 assists. Besides those two, goaltender Cal Frank also graduated after posting a .860 save percentage.
What to expect next season
As mentioned, there’s returning talent for the team to lean on. Northfield seems to be one of the teams that will be in the mix for the Big Nine crown from the start of the season. As of now, the Raiders’ most pressing challenge is competing in Section 1AA with bigger schools such as Lakeville North and Lakeville South. Those teams play mostly 2A schedules compared to Northfield.