BOYS HOCKEY PREVIEW
Faribault (2-2-0, 0-1-0 Big 9 Conference) vs. Owatonna (4-3-0, 1-1-0)
7:30 p.m. Thursday — Four Seasons Centre, Owatonna
For Faribault High School boys hockey coach Brad Ryan, the Falcons’ rivalry with Owatonna never gets old.
“Back in my day they used to pepper us with 78 shots a game,” said Ryan, who played goalie for FHS in the 1980s. “So definitely it’s a rivalry game.”
The Falcons and Huskies will face each other for the first time in 2010-11 on Thursday at Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
In Ryan’s two years as FHS coach, the Falcons have handled the Huskies. They’ve won three of the four meetings with Owatonna under Ryan, including 7-1 and 3-2 wins over the Huskies en route to the Big 9 Conference crown last season.
This year, FHS (2-2-0, 0-1-0 Big 9 Conference) already had a setback against Mankato West in conference play — a 6-3 loss on Dec. 9. But that doesn’t mean the Falcons are automatically out of Big 9 contention, Ryan said.
That begins with Thursday’s matchup against a young Huskies squad. Owatonna (4-3-0, 1-1-0) is averaging 3.14 goals per game and is coming off a 4-0 loss to Rochester Century on Tuesday.
The Huskies had eight players with 10 or more points last season, and five of them are no longer on the team — including the top three scorers.
For Faribault, the key is to control the special teams battle. Ryan said the power play and penalty kill have both been less than stellar so far this year.
“We’ve had some serious issues on special teams,” Ryan said. “If those don’t get addressed we won’t be going anywhere in the playoffs.”
(this game was post-ponded due to school being let out early in Owatonna, make-up date is TBA)