BOYS HOCKEY PREVIEW Faribault (2-1) vs. Mankato West (3-1)
7:30 p.m. Thursday — Faribault Ice Arena
The Mankato West boys hockey team has scored at least seven goals in each of its last three games.
On Thursday, it becomes Faribault High School’s task to slow down the Scarlets when West visits the Faribault Ice Arena for a 7:30 p.m. contest.
One of the big differences from this year’s West team compared to last year’s squad that went 11-14-1 has been Ville Rantanen, an exchange student from Finland. He currently leads the state in scoring with 18 points.
“They were battling to be competitive (last year),” FHS coach Brad Ryan said. “This kid comes in and he’s lighting it up pretty good.”
Rantanen isn’t the only weapon Faribault will have to be wary of Thursday, as Drew Weber and Andrew Frentz both have 11 points through four games. Weber’s four goals put him second on the team behind Rantanen.
“Drew Weber’s a scrappy, hard-working kid,” Ryan said. “We’re going to have to focus on the fundamentals and play good defense.”
Thursday’s tilt marks the first Big 9 Conference game for the Falcons (2-1), who are looking to defend last year’s conference crown. To start off with a win, the FHS offense will have to sneak a few past West (3-1) goalie Jake Kaufman, who boasts a 2.69 goals against average in four starts.
Ryan hopes momentum from Saturday’s win against Northfield will carry over into Thursday.
“I feel confident in saying that each game we’re getting a little better,” he said.