Marie Noplos/Daily Journal Fergus Falls Otter girls hockey coach Matt Koalska draws up a play during practice. The Otters will open the season at home against Detroit Lakes at 7:15 p.m. Friday.

Archived Story

Back on the ice [UPDATED]

Published 11:05am Friday, November 9, 2012 Updated 11:05am Friday, November 9, 2012

Returning a core of young talent, the Fergus Falls Otters girls hockey team is looking to build off of last season.

Headed by third year coach Matt Koalska, the Otters will open their season Friday against Detroit Lakes.

The chemistry built last season should play a major role in helping the Otters succeed this year.

“With the young players last year gaining varsity experience, they will feel more comfortable on this ice this year and be able to make some opportunities,” Head Coach Matt Koalska said. “The players know each other, and they are comfortable with the coaches and the coaches are comfortable with them.”

Captains for the Otters this season are senior defenseman Megan Niblock, senior forward Stephanie Kolstad and the leading scorer from last season, junior forward Lauren Norgren.

Also providing leadership will be seniors Taylor Bergren, Brianna Connelly, and Jordie Salwei.

Although there will be more seniors than last year, the team is still young. Underclassmen include juniors Megan Odland, Sydny Kuehl, sophomores Abby Moxness, Keanna Overland, Ashley Vaughn, Katie Shelstad, and freshman Annie Magnusson and Hannah Baker.

The Otters should have quite a bit of offensive firepower this year as two of the three top scorers from last season will be returning.

Lauren Norgren had nineteen goals and thirteen assist last year for the Otters, while teammate Sydney Kuehl looks to be the play maker once again this year as she led the team with fourteen assists and eleven goals last season.

On the other side of the coin, Koalska expects the Otter defense to be stingy as they are led by senior goaltender Jordie Salwei. Her leadership on the ice should prove to be valuable to the younger players during games in the upcoming year.

Koalska spoke of how each player will contribute to the team this season. He said each player is an impact player in their own way.

“If they come to the game to compete and make not only themselves better but their teammates better, they will be successful. Every girl will do what they can to make the team better,” Koalska added.

Koalska didn’t know what to expect when it comes to section and conference standings this season, as every team graduated players and has new ones coming in, but he sees every game to be a good one this year, no matter who is playing.

Though unsure on how the season will turn out, he expects the girls to have fun and improve as the season goes on.

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