For those of you who aren’t highly familiar with Minnesota High School hockey, all you need to know is that these teams don’t care for each other. The Roseau/Warroad rivalry is the biggest in Minnesota High School hockey in most people’s eyes. The two small towns are located nearly 21 miles away from each other in the freezing and decollate plains of Northwestern Minnesota. If you grow up in one of these towns, you most likely are getting a hockey stick put in your hands before you can walk. These small towns take pride in their families and beating each other.
Each team has produced several great college and NHL players. Roseau produced the trio of Neal, Paul and Aaron Broten who went on to play in the NHL after attending the University of Minnesota. Warroad has pumped out many greats like Henry ‘Ace’ Boucher, T.J. Oshie and Brock Nelson. These are just a few of the many players who grew up learning the game and living this historic rivalry.
This game gave us every aspect as it started out physical and ended with a big comeback by the Roseau Rams who completed a 5-4 victory in front of their home crowd. The Warroad top line was dominant early and got them off to a 3-0 first period lead only to see it dwindle away down the stretch. Roseau scored 4 third period goals in order to complete the comeback over their arch rival.
See below for free scouting reports on some players who stood out this game.
Paul Huglen (F, R, 5’8″, 170, Roseau HS, 03/03/2003) – The younger brother of NHL Draft Pick Aaron Huglen showed some similar traits to that of his elder in tonight’s game. He can play with pace and has the stick skills to go along with it. He attacked opponents off the rush and was able to create his own shot it one on one situations. It didn’t take him much time to make a move and then get the puck off his stick to the net. He buried 2 goals tonight and was a spark for his team with his pace of play and ability to make plays while trailing big early on. Goals have come in bunches for the Junior forward as of late as he is lighting the lamp with ease. Line: 2-0-2. Grade: A
Max Strand (F, R, 5’8″, 173, Roseau HS, 09/03/2003) – The Sophomore is a very fluid skater who had the puck a ton tonight. He controlled the puck through the neutral zone often with poise and vision. His hands were as smooth as his skating ability and he distributed the puck all around the ice. Whether it was direct or area passes, they were on the tape. He is off to an impressive start to his High School career by leading his team in scoring by a large margin. With his skating ability and skill, it’s easy to see why. Line: 0-2-2 Grade: A-
Gavin Gunderson (F, R, 6’0″, 183, Roseau HS, 05/20/2003) – Gavin played north and south often working through checks. He kept his feet moving and made plays with second effort. His game tying goal was impressive as he fought through a check while driving the net and was able to get the puck to his fore hand and finish with a defender draped all over him. A high compete level and strength made him hard to get off the puck. Line: 1-0-1 Grade: B
Hanson O’Leary (F, L, 5’9″, 175, Roseau HS, 11/11/2001) – Hanson was shifty with the puck and turned away from checks in order to make skilled plays. His edges were great and he was able to handle the puck in tight spaces. He made defenders miss often and showed his skill off while handling the puck with his soft hands. He missed a wide open net during the game but found the resolve to stick with it in order to score a huge goal for his team later on. Line: 1-0-1 Grade: B
Isaac Wensloff (D, L, 6’0″, 174, Roseau HS, 10/05/2003) – A young defender with upside. A mobile skater who was poised with the puck and made the simple play up ice. His head was up and he made strong decisions with the puck on his stick. As he continues to get stronger and more explosive, he showed his upside as a blooming defenseman. Line: 0-1-1 Grade: B-
Grant Slukynsky (F, L, 6’0″, 200, Warroad HS, 03/12/2002) – Although his team didn’t win the game, Grant was the best player on the ice and was nearly unstoppable. He produced scoring and had several chances to have even a bigger game on the score sheet. His strength allowed him to play with the puck down low and roll off defenders to set up his line mates. He has improved his skating over the past year and it is really showing as he is now one of the leading scorers in the State of Minnesota. Tonight he was a playmaker by threading the needle down low to his line mates to set up goals. When he got moving down the ice it was nearly impossible to get the puck away from his. He didn’t score tonight but could’ve had 2 or 3 as he showed off his heavy shot that had some zip on it.
Line: 0-3-3 Grade: A+
Jayson Shaugabay (F, R, Warroad HS, 01/01/2005) – The Freshman showed a big time dynamic stick while making skill plays in tight. He had two goals tonight while playing on the top line. He made plays in tight with little or no time often. His skating allowed him to get to spots and then his skill just took over once he got there. As he gets more experience and gains strength, he is going to be a nightmare for Northern Minnesota opponents in the next couple of years. Line: 2-2-4 Grade: A+
Anthony Foster (F, L, 5’8″, 155, Warroad HS, 10/08/2002) – Anthony was a part of the trio on the top line playing alongside Slukynsky and Shaugabay. He had a very impressive game as he was all over the place and got on loose pucks. His energy and compete were very high as he went to the net and was rewarded for it. He got open and fired pucks to the net and then crashed it looking for loose change. Strong on his skates and able to play in traffic allowed him to be very productive. He was aggressive with the puck and it paid off for him. Line: 2-0-2 Grade: B
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images