Boys hockey preview
FHS (15-6, 7-1 Big 9 Conference) vs. Winona (13-5-1, 7-2-1)
Thursday, 7:30 p.m. — Winona Bud King Ice Arena
After building a five-game winning streak to begin the 2010 calendar year, the Faribault High School boys hockey team eventually hit a speed bump.
The Falcons lost back-to-back games to Albert Lea and Rochester Lourdes — both on the road — to drop to 12-6 on the season. But since then, FHS (15-6, 7-1 Big 9 Conference) has reeled off three consecutive victories, and coach Brad Ryan feels his team is playing its best hockey of the season.
The Falcons can thank the pair of losses for that.
“We went through a stormy period where we played Albert Lea and Lourdes and learned some important lessons that week,” Ryan said. “As a result, I think we’re bigger, we’re better and we’re stronger.”
Now, coming off its third straight win, FHS travels to Winona for its second-to-last Big 9 game. The Falcons also host Rochester Mayo next Thursday to wrap up the conference season.
With FHS near the top of the Big 9 standings, and Winona (13-5-1, 7-2-1) not far behind, these final two conference games bear some significance for the Falcons.
“I think the mood is pretty much one game at a time,” Ryan said. “Our guys are pretty grounded.”
Ryan admitted he and his coaching staff don’t know much about the Winhawks, due in large part to the long distance between the two schools. Indeed, the trip to Winona is the longest conference bus ride Faribault will take all season.
Regardless, Ryan knows his team is peaking at the right time and feels confident heading into Thursday’s game.
“On paper, they definitely look like a pretty good threat,” Ryan said.
“But in the same aspect, we want to control the things we can.”
— Sports reporter Tyler Mason.