There was a time when Morgen Martelle found contentment in holding the opposition's scoring to a minimum.
Not that Martelle, Minot High's all-state defenseman, has strayed from his desire of keeping offenses in check - he's just taken on a contrasting role.
Coming into the season, Minot's scoring was depleted by graduation and Mason Morelli's decision to play junior hockey, prompting coach Chad Burckhard to move Martelle to forward. Now the three-year starter is taking the puck to the net with surprising aplomb.
Minot senior Morgen Martelle (2) is a proven defender but is also leading the Magicians in scoring this season.
Five games into his senior campaign Martelle leads the Magicians in goals (4) while also doling out three assists.
"He's done a great job of accepting that role and filling a void for us," Burckhard said. "It just goes to show you how talented he really is."
Quinn Fuchs, Minot's leader in points last season, was the only other returner with substantial scoring experience. Fuchs' team-leading five assists have aided Martelle's pursuit.
"I have a pretty good line," Martelle said. "They've been dishing me the puck and it's been working."
Burckhard will put Martelle back on defense when Minot (3-2, 2-1) travels to Dickinson on Saturday, but it won't shackle his scoring attempts.
Martelle, who believes his play as an uber-physical defenseman will take him to the junior-hockey level, is glad to show the West Region he's more than just a one-trick pony.
"I want to be a (defender and scorer)," Martelle said. "Sort of a hybrid."
Minot swimmers looking for more
Minot High's ever-consistent boys swimming team doesn't return a state champion.
It isn't the defending Class A team champion, either.
But couple the Magicians' lofty turnout of 64 athletes and the program's tradition and Minot coach Jake Solper believes he has more than enough to work with.
"We lost some definite point scorers from last season," Solper said. "But that happens every year. We just have to look to our younger guys and if we're injury and illness free we should compete."
After winning back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011, Minot finished third in one of the closest team races in the history of the state meet. It will look to its experience this winter to get back to the top of the podium.
Zdenek Skalicky (200 IM, 100 butterfly), Lee Keller (100 IM, 800 freestyle), Ethan Bahl (breaststroke) and Jeremy Fix (diving) all placed in the top eight at state last winter.
Minot finds itself behind the eight ball early, though, due to the departure of Owen Kusick. Kusick, who won state in the 500 freestyle last season, moved to Minnesota to finish his prep career.
Minot breezed past Williston in the first of meet of the season, but Solper believes swimming in North Dakota has improved.
"Swimming and diving are becoming more and more competitive," Solper said. "The (Class A) teams are improving."
The Magicians travel to Mandan today at 5 p.m for a meet at the Aquatic Center.
Leingang takes third at Foot Locker Invite
Bismarck High senior Lake Leingang placed third at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships on Saturday, finishing with a time of fifteen minutes, seven seconds at the prestigious national meet.
Leingang, the state-record holder in the 3200-meter run, won the Midwest portion of the race in November with a time of 14:57.
Magicians third in poll
West Region pundits aren't the only ones conscious of Minot's returning talent.
The first boys basketball Class A media poll has the Magicians (1-0) sitting at No. 3 behind Fargo Shanley and Fargo Davies. Defending champion Grand Forks Red Riverl and Bismarck were No. 4 and 5 respectively.
Minot's girls, who finished fifth at state last year, didn't garner a spot in the poll. The Majettes' league foes Bismarck and Bismarck Century were No. 2 and No. 3, while Jamestown was tied for fifth.