With 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 Pine City.
How last season went
The Dragons have not had the reputation of being a hockey dynamo, but after the 2019-20 season, more people are going to take this up and coming program seriously. Pine City rolled through it schedule inside and outside of the Two Rivers Conference. The Dragons were unbeaten between Nov. 30 and Jan. 13.
Pine City did all of this through a powerful offense as the squad averaged 5.2 goals per game. At the end of the regular season, the Dragons boasted a 19-6 record, and a perfect conference record.
Heading into the Section 5A tournament, Pine City was the No. 3 seed. The Dragons flew past Northern Lakes with a 3-1 win. Then, Pine City faced a unique challenge going up against No. 7 seed Chisago Lakes. The Dragons fended off their upset-minded foe to advance to the section final.
Playing inside of a packed Fogarty Arena in Blaine, Pine City battled Monticello up until the final minutes for a spot in the state tournament. The two teams were neck-and-neck until a late outburst by the Moose gave them a 6-4 win and left the Dragons heartbroken and a game short of the state tournament.
Who’s gone and who’s back
Part of Pine City’s success may have come from its senior leadership. George Miller, Dusty Bergstrom and Gabe Westbrook all graduate after each player put up at least 30 points last season. Miller specifically stood out with 29 goals and 34 assists. On the back end, senior goaltender Alex Laven was a big help with his 2.01 goals against average and .916 save percentage.
Parker Sell looks to be a name to watch as he’s set to return to the ice for the Dragons. He tallied 26 goals and 38 assists last season. One of the most memorable goals for Sell was a game-winner against Mound Westonka. He also dished out two assists in that winning effort.
What to expect next season
Pine City certainly turned heads last season with its success. More people will likely look at the Dragons next season as a serious state tournament threat. Those in Pine City have to hope that this year’s success is just the starting out point.