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 Albert Lea.
How last season went
The margin of error was low for the Tigers during the 2019-20 season. The team was outscored on average by .72 goals last season.
Through 10 games, things didn’t look great for Albert Lea as the squad posted a 3-7 record. The rest of the way, things improved. The Tigers went 6-7-2 and picked up key wins, including one against eventual state tournament participant Mankato East.
In the postseason, Albert Lea ended up as the No. 7 seed in Section 1A. That meant a date against La Crescent in the play-in round. The Tigers roared to a 5-1 win. That was all the success for them as they could not crack the code that was Mankato East in the quarterfinals.
Who’s back and who’s gone
Blake Ulve was the driver of the Tiger offense last season as he posted a team-best 40 points last season (17 goals, 23 assists). He did this surrounded largely by senior leaders.
Culley Larson (20G, 13A), Campbell Cicholz (11G, 13A) and Danny Chalmers (6G, 13A) are all graduated and have moved on. That also includes Brad Horecka. The goaltender posted a .894 save percentage in 12 games last season.
One positive is the expected return of Braden Fjeista in net. He posted a .848 save percentage in 15 games.
What to expect next season
The returning players provide some promise for next season. The question is, however, whether Albert Lea will be the team it was at the start of the 2019-20 season or the squad at the end of the season.