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Best of the best

By Loren Nelson, Editor, 11/20/09, 2:38PM CST


Warroad's Nelson, Jefferson's Herbert headline the Hub's inaugural preseason all-state team

This fall Brock Nelson and Caleb Herbert were dominant players in a league loaded with superstars.

Nelson, from Warroad, and Herbert, from Bloomington Jefferson, were high-scoring centers in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League. They played on competing teams during the league’s regular season but joined forces on an all-star team of all-stars ---- Minnesota Red ---- for a season-ending tournament that culminated with a stunning 10-3 triumph over Shattuck-St. Mary’s in the championship game.

Nelson and Herbert, both seniors, didn’t play on the same line for Minnesota Red, instead serving as catalysts on equally dominant forward lines.

In assembling the MN Hockey Hub’s inaugural preseason all-state team, however, the speedy, slippery seniors have been grouped with St. Francis senior and super-scorer Joey Benik.

Benik (65), Nelson (45) and Herbert (29) scored a combined 139 goals last season. In the Elite League this fall, Herbert shared the league scoring lead with 42 points in 24 games. Nelson ranked fourth in points with 32 (16 goals, 16 assists).

Benik, meanwhile, played in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League, where he scored 11 goals in nine games. Four of those goals came in one game, which wouldn’t be an unusual outburst for Benik except that, amazingly, three of them came while his Minnesota Owls were shorthanded.

Bloomington Jefferson’s Joe Faust and Minnetonka’s Troy Hesketh, both seniors, are the first-team preseason all-state defenseman. Faust scored 45 points last season for the Jaguars while Hesketh was a third-round pick (71st overall) by the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL Entry Draft in June.

Thief River Falls senior Zane Gothberg, another dominant player in the Elite League this fall, is the first-team goaltender. Gothberg and Faust teamed with Nelson and Herbert on the Minnesota Red team that won its three games in the Elite League’s postseason tournament by a combined score of 20-4.

Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub managing editor, can be reached at 612-379-1030 ext. 126 or loren.nelson@tstmedia.com.


Zane Gothberg Thief River Falls Sr. G 6'0" 180 North Dakota recruit was rock-solid in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League and a big reason why the Prowlers are considered one of the state's top Class A teams.
Joe Faust Bloomington Jefferson Sr. D 5'10" 190 Princeton recruit is a two-way star with a booming shot. He scored 45 points last season playing against high-level competition.
Troy Hesketh Minnetonka Sr. D 6'2" 182 Wisconsin recruit and Edmonton Oilers draft pick uses his massive wingspan so effectively he is a brick wall in one-on-one situations.
Brock Nelson Warroad Sr. F 6'2" 205 North Dakota recruit is big, fast, a natural goal scorer and not afraid to backcheck, either. The complete package.
Caleb Herbert Bloomington Jefferson Sr. F 5'9" 180 UM-Duluth recruit led the Elite League in scoring thanks in part to his rocket-fueled skating speed.
Joey Benik St. Francis Sr. F 5'9" 150 St. Cloud State recruit has soft hands and great speed, assets he parlayed into 65 goals last season.



Adam Wilcox South St. Paul Jr. G 6'0" 165 Minnesota recruit is as active as goaltenders come and often acts as a third puck-moving defenseman.
Mark Alt Cretin-Derham Hall Sr. D 6'3" 200 Minnesota recruit and high-grade pro prospect is big, strong and a gifted athlete (he's also one of the state's top prep quarterbacks).
Ben Marshall Mahtomedi Jr. D 5'10" 165 Minnesota recruit is end-to-end threat with his unmatched skating ability and speed.
Nick Bjugstad Blaine Jr. F 6'4" 190 Minnesota recruit uses oversized frame, slick stickhandling skills and wicked shot to make him an absolute nightmare for opposing defenseman.
Kyle Rau Eden Prairie Jr. F 5'8" 147 Undersized only in stature; as dangerous with the puck as any forward in the state.
Adam Krause Hermantown Sr. F 6'0" 175 UM-Duluth recruit is big, strong and slippery around the net.