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Morris Benson girls have an experienced team for '08-'09

Storm seniors include (from top) Dani Staples, Abby Knutson, Emily Rajewsky, Sara Beyer, and Katia Vantries.

The Morris Benson Area girls' hockey team is already on the ice for the 2008-09 season.

The Storm return to the rinks after finishing last season 18-6.

Only losing two players to graduation, goalie Hannah Horecka and Tessa Miller, the Storm has experience on their side.

With five seniors on the roster, coach Jeff Mahoney will not have to start at square one this season.

"We brought back a lot of experience," said Mahoney. "We only have two new skaters, which is fun for coaches. You can start at a different level.

"Speed will be our main attribute," he said. "We have talented skaters and puck handlers."

Seniors include Dani Staples, Katia Vantries, Emily Rajewsky, Abby Knutson, and Sara Beyer, as well as student manager Devon Ratliff-Crain.

Staples recorded 11 goals and 11 assists last season, while Emily Rajewsky had nine of each.

Beyer returns to the ice after playing basketball for years. She did play hockey as a youth and Mahoney said she is doing well.

The only junior on the team is Moriah Hovde.

Sophomores include Brooke Falk, who was 6-0 in limited action last season as goalie.

Sophomore Dani Schultz returns after leading the Storm in goals last season. She recorded 28 goals and 16 assists in her freshman year.

Other sophomores include Sam Falk who recorded seven goals and 14 assists last season and Sara Rajewsky with eight goals and seven assists.

Monica Lindblad, Kelly Mahoney, and Celyste Evenson round out the sophomores on the roster.

The only other new varsity skater is seventh grader Morgan DeHaan.

Being an independent team not associated with a conference, the Storm play teams from all over the state.

Both Morris and Benson will host five home games this season. Morris dates include Luverne on Dec. 6, Park Rapids on Jan. 10, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle on Jan. 20, Marshall on Jan. 22, and Detroit Lakes on Jan. 27.

The Section 6A tournament begins Feb. 14. The section includes Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Little Falls/Brainerd, Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Sauk Centre, and Alexandria.

Mahoney said Alexandria was the true test for the team this season. The Storm lost by only one point to last year's state champions.