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GOING NORTH

12/27/2010, 7:26pm CST
By By: Tyler Mason

Faribault High School boys hockey coach Brad Ryan (top right) talks with his team during a timeout in a game against Mound-Westonka earlier this month. FHS travels to Warroad on Tuesday for a three-day tournament. (Daily News file photo)

Senior Jack Helgeson feels the chemistry has been lacking so far this season for the Faribault High School boys hockey team. As a result, the Falcons have gotten off to a 2-5 start.

What better way to build team chemistry than by taking an eight-hour bus ride together?

That’s exactly what FHS will be doing, as it leaves early Tuesday morning for a three-day tournament in Warroad. The small town in northern Minnesota is 400 miles from Faribault and just a short distance from the Canadian border.

“It’s a 9-iron away from Canada,” FHS coach Brad Ryan joked earlier this season.

When the Falcons come back to Faribault after their three-day, 800-mile trip, they hope to have rebounded from the four-game losing streak they’re currently in. The latest setback was a 4-3 loss to Orono in which FHS erased a two-goal deficit in the third period, only to fall in overtime.

“We’ve had a slow start,” Helgeson said. “It was obviously tough to come back and lose that one. Seeing how much they fought even being down two goals, everybody kept working and didn’t let (Orono) scoring put us down. I think that’s definitely an upside.”

In Warroad, FHS will play on an Olympic-sized rink. Last week’s game against Orono was the first time this year Faribault had played on that sized rink, and Ryan hopes that experience will help his team this week.

The Falcons will open the tournament Tuesday against Osseo, a Class AA team that began its season with a 4-3 mark. Wednesday will pit the Falcons against the Grafton, N.D. Spoilers. FHS will close out the tournament Thursday against host Warroad.

“We’ll have our hands full with them,” assistant coach Dan Pumper said of Warroad.

“I think we need to match the physical part of the teams that are up there,” Helgeson said. “We need to get shots on net. That’s probably been our biggest downfall in the first seven games.”

Once the Falcons return, they’ll open up Big 9 Conference play as they look to defend their conference title. Owatonna awaits Faribault for a showdown Jan. 4 at the Faribault Ice Arena to open up the Big 9 slate.

“We’re looking to get up there to get at least two wins out of three, get back in the groove so when we come back to Faribault and start with conference play, we’ll be up to par,” Helgeson said.

Tag(s): Faribault