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Kennedy has best of 5 seasons with Storm boys

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Coach Jim Kennedy just completed his fifth season as head coach of the Morris Benson Area varsity boys' hockey team.

"This was one of our better seasons," Kennedy said. "I saw more improvements start to finish."

The team started the 2010-2011 season with two main goals in mind: 1) winning the the Southwest Conference title and 2) winning their holiday tournament.

The Storm came close to realizing those goals, but had to settle for second in both.

The Storm finished the season 16-7-1 overall and 10-1-1 in the conference. They fell to Marshall 4-3 in the last regular-season game which decided the conference title.

"We fell short of our goals, but we have the experience and know what it takes to get there."

The Storm outscored their opponents 133-86, average 5.54 goals per game, while allowing only 3.58 on average. The Storm's shots-on-goal average was 32.62 per game, compared to 28.81 for the opponents.

The Storm will have most of their experience back next season, as the team is losing only three seniors to graduation.

"Our core group of guys that played major roles will be back," said Kennedy.

The Storm will miss Tyler Hansen, Ethan Ratliff-Crain, and Andrew Fath.

Hansen led the Storm in goals this season with 37. He also recorded 18 assists. He leads the Storm's all-time scoring list with 99 career goals in four years of varsity play. Hansen finished his career with 148 points to take second on the Storm's all-time list behind Tony Schultz with 167.

Hansen was named the team's MVP.

"He was our go-to guy when we needed points," explained Kennedy. "He's a great competitor and he's improved a lot."

Ratliff-Crain record 12 goals this season and 14 assists.

"He's always been determined. He works hard all the time," said Kennedy. "He makes good decisions.

"Every player saw his work ethic," he added. "It was contagious."

Fath recorded 600 saves, while giving up 85 goals for a save percentage of .875 in his first season of starting in the net.

Fath was named Most Improved.

"He stepped in and took a starting role and was spectacular at times," said Kennedy. "He works really hard, trying to get better. He was an excellent goal tender."

Other awards went to Brody Gimberlin for Hardest Worker and Rookie of the Year. Jake Huston was named the Storms' Top Defenseman.

Hansen, Fath, and Kelly Engquist were named All-Conference, while Ratliff-Crain received and Honorable Mention.

Returning players include juniors Isaac Berens, Engquist, Luke Schwarz, Tanner Kirkeide, Huston, Paden Strutz, sophomores Gimberlin, Andrew Rentz, Tanner Picht, Darion Helberg, Mac Beyer, Jordan Staples, and freshman Chad Schwarz.