From an on-paper perspective the Minot High School boys hockey team's voids are apparent.
The loss of six seniors and one of the state's most touted underclassman leaves the Magicians with 76 percent less of their scoring from a year ago.
MDN File Photo
Senior Morgan Martelle moves from defense to forward this season for the Magicians.
But eighth-year coach Chad Burckhard, whose squad opens its season today at 3:15 p.m. at Fargo Davies, knows the cupboards aren't completely bare.
"The (scoring) will have to be by committee," Burckhard said. "We're a little quicker than we've been in the past, so we'll have to be a buzzsaw. We're going to have to be pesky and create mistakes. That's going to be our MO."
Minot, which finished 14-13 a year ago and placed sixth at the state tournament, will miss mainstay Josh Colleaux (28 goals, four assists last season), now with the junior A West Sound Warriors in the Seattle area.
Meet the Magicians
Seniors - Morgen Martelle, Stephen Vilipski, Jake Smith, Tyler Kast, Andrew Keller.
Juniors - Quinn Fuchs, Jersey Kelly, Daylen Benjamin, Carter Bechtold, Isaac Weisberg, Taran Albright, Hayden Schwarz, Cayde Enns, Trevor Werchau, Zach Dockter, Zach D'Amobrosio.
Sophomores - Matt Flom, Brent Willians, Zebulen Polkinen, Riley Holwegner, Ryan Peterson, Garret Picard, Breydan Effertz.
November - Tonight, at Fargo Davies, 3:15; 30, at Grand Forks Central, 7:30 p.m.
December - 1, vs. Jamstown, 5:30 p.m.; 4, vs. Mandan, 7:30; 6, at Bismarck Century, 7:15 p.m.; 15, at Dickinson, 5:15 p.m.; 18, vs. Hazen, 7:30 p.m.; 27-29; at Roseau Tournament.
January - 3, at Bismarck, 7:15 p.m. 5, at Williston, 7:15 p.m.; 11, at Jamestown, 7:30 p.m.; 15, vs. Bismarck Century, 7:30 p.m.; 17, Bismarck, 7:30 p.m.; 21, at Bottineau, 7:30 p.m.; 24, at Mandan, 7:30 p.m.; 26, vs. Devils Lake, 7:30 p.m.
February - 2, vs. Grand Forks Red River, 7:30 p.m.; 5, vs. Williston, 7:30 p.m.; 7, vs. Bottineau, 7:30 p.m.; 14-16, at regionals; 21-23, state tournament.
The return of junior Mason Morelli (22 goals, 18 assists), who opted to play for the Minot Minotauros this winter, would have been a luxury.
Now Minot will lean even heavier on the play of junior Quinn Fuchs, the Magicians' points leader from a year ago.
The 5-foot-5, 150-pound Fuchs was seventh in North Dakota in scoring (45) as a sophomore and will be in a position to exceed that statistic with even more looks at the net.
Throw in senior defenseman-turned-forward Morgen Martelle and junior forward Hayden Schwarz, it's enough experience for Burckhard to work with.
"Those are the three we'll have to rely on early in the season," Burckhard said. "They've been through the battles and have played a lot of top-end minutes for us."
Martelle was moved to forward in an effort to boost the Magicians' scoring, which could be scarce early on. Outside of Fuchs, Minot's chaotic pace might lead to scoring opportunities via rushes and turnovers.
There will also be inexperience in the crease, as Minot turns to sophomore goalie Breyden Effertz.
"He's a very athletic young man," Burckhard said. "He's another young kid we're happy to have in our program."
The junior-loaded Magicians figure to be in the mix of what looks to be a parity-riddled West Region, which could be a six-team race.
Bismarck Century, Jamestown, Bottineau, Mandan and the Magicians will look to catch prohibitive preseason favorite Bismarck High for the top slot.
"You have to give the nod to Bismarck with the success they had with those freshman last season," Burckhard said. "Century, Minot, Bottineau, Mandan, Jamestown -- we all can compete (for the title)."
Minot's home opener is Dec. 1 against Jamestown at 5:30 p.m.