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Forest Lake assist machine Gravelle shows surprising scoring touch

01/12/2014, 12:09am CST
By AARON PAITICH, Special to the Star Tribune

Forest Lake’s Brett Gravelle has turned a penchant for assists into goals for a change.


Brett Gravelle, credit to Todd Proulx at TCL Digital

Brett Gravelle has registered a lot of points in his hockey career, but they’ve usually come in the assist column.

“I’ve always been a passer first, really,” said Gravelle, the senior captain of the Forest Lake boys’ hockey team.

That’s why his goal spurt this year has been so surprising. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound forward scored three hat tricks and a total of 20 goals through just 13 games.

He can’t quite explain the scoring touch.

“Every time I touch the puck it just seems to find a way into the back of the net,” Gravelle said. “I don’t know. I’m just on a hot streak right now.”

Gravelle has been scoring in a variety of ways — rebounds, garbage goals, shooting top shelf from the hash marks, breakaways, you name it. He hasn’t changed his game or forced himself to become more of a goal scorer. It just kind of happened.

Gravelle credits his teammates and linemates, specifically Alex Egle, for setting him up. Egle has 19 points on the season, all on assists. Egle and Gravelle have played on the same line quite a bit growing up in the Forest Lake youth hockey system. Their chemistry and familiarity is helping produce for the Rangers, who have a 7-3-3 record.

Senior goaltender Jesse Garcia’s strong play is keeping the Rangers in games in which they’ve been outshot. Senior captains Ryan Herbert and Weston Kilpela have been scoring at a point-per-game clip. Paul Stehr and Clayton Dahly have been solid on the blue line.

The Rangers have been a bit inconsistent this year, but have shown promise in many games.

If Forest Lake is to make a playoff run at the end of the season, it will need to shore up its defensive play. The team is generating enough offense to win games but giving up too many goals too often.

“But if we’re defense-first, we’ll be fine,” Gravelle said.

Gravelle also plays baseball for the Rangers, who are coached by his dad, Tal Gravelle. Tal Gravelle also coached Brett multiple years during youth hockey, so their bond is quite strong in the sporting world.

“I am a huge hockey fan so I really enjoy watching Brett and the entire team,” Tal Gravelle said. “I have a number of baseball players who play hockey. They are a talented group who could make a run in sections.”

His son hopes to play junior hockey after he graduates this year and eventually earn a spot on a college hockey roster. If he keeps up this scoring pace and continues developing, the NCAA looks like a real possibility.

“Brett does enjoy hockey more, and I am very supportive as he wants to play beyond high school,” Tal Gravelle said. “We are very close despite the fact he has had to have me as a coach for both sports for much of his career.”

Brett, who will play baseball again this spring to finish out his prep career, called his father “my biggest mentor in everything. We have a really good relationship.”

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