Alexandria, MN (Mar 26, 2022) 

For more information, contact: Johnny Van Atta, Director of Hockey Operations (615) 830-1113, [email protected]

The Northstar Knights 2021-22 game season has officially come to a close. Looking back on the past 6 months, the Knights have seen tremendous growth in all the players which has led to many team accomplishments. 

The 16U Knights capped off their 2nd season in existence and built off of their success from last year. The Knights finished with a record of 43-8-6 and finished ranked #42 in the country – 4 spots higher than where they finished last season. Their penalty kill was dominant this season as they only gave up 9 goals while playing a man down. Brayden Berg finished as the Knight’s top scorer with 53 points (30-23-53), followed by Lincoln Hjelm with 51 (17-34-51) and Tanner Hunt with 46 (14-32-46). Sam Kartch (23-21-44) and Gavin Hruza (21-18-39) rounded out the Knights players who hit the 20-goal plateau. As a whole, the Knights scored 200 goals while only giving up 90, thanks to a strong trio of goaltenders in Merik Grinaker, Max Weilandt and Beck Lidén. Grinaker finished the year with a 7-0 record to go along with a 0.75 GAA and a .941 SV% and will return back with the 16U Knights next season. Lidén went 19-4-4 with a 1.57 GAA and .929 SV% and Weilandt finished 19-3-2 with a 1.48 GAA & .935 SV%. Weilandt’s SV% and GAA both rank 2nd in 16U AAA hockey this season for goalies who have played more than 10 games. Lidén is not far off coming in at #7 in SV% and #4 in GAA. “Our goaltending was excellent all year, we have three very good goalies”, coach Tim Jackman said. The 16U Knights will see 14 players move onto the 18U Prep team next season but will look to build around returners Grinaker, Lincoln Hjelm, Alex Klimek, Andrew Leung. Head Coach, Tim Jackman, has seen a lot of growth in his team over the season. “I am extremely thankful to say that I got to coach this group of young men alongside coach Mark Abalan this season”, said Jackman. “We’ve seen tremendous growth and development in this team as hockey players and men, from the start in September until the final weekend against Culver Academy Waterloo, IA in early March. The drive and competitive spirit continued to increase as the season went along. The positional play, and cooperation as a team improved, along with fundamental habits that they will carry with them the rest of their hockey playing days. The players moving up to the U18 will be ready and the players returning to U16 are going to be great leaders. The season was a journey of ups and downs, and there were extremely meaningful times of growth in perseverance and maturity. This group all season, win or lose, was faithful to the call at Northstar.” 

The 18U Knights had a season for the record books. To start, the Knights took home the Dixon Cup after winning the NAPHL playoffs. They also finished with a record of 51-5-3 and are the only 18U AAA team with 50+ wins this season. On their path to success, the Knights relied on their lethal special teams as they converted on 30% of their power play opportunities and killed off 90% of their penalty kills. As a whole, the Knights scored 311 goals and only allowed 111, which averages out to 5.27 goals for per game and 1.88 goals against per game. The Knights were led by record-setting seasons by forwards Reese Laubach and Cody Croal. Laubach finished this season with 102 points (51-51-102) and Croal finished with 101 points (42-59-101). It also ranks them 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in total points in all of 18U AAA hockey this season. For the All-time 18U AAA record book for points, Laubach is tied for 4th and Croal is ranked 5th. Not far behind them was Dylan Cook, who finished the season with 94 points (35-59-94). The trio of forwards accounted for 36% of the total points of the Knights players this season and were an integral part of the Knights returning core from last season. “It’s both obvious and impressive the impact Reese, Cody and Dylan have had on the ice in their two seasons as Knights”, Head Coach, Rylan Galiardi said. “However, it is their legacy as Northstar Knight Warriors that will stand; Competitive, Disciplined and Honorable young men. Their own individual spiritual growth, along with the eternal impact they are making with their families, friends and community brings us great joy.” Forwards Caleb Elfering (22-40-62) and Ashton Christman (22-28-50) also chipped in with 22 goals a piece this season as the Knights finished with 5 players with 20+ goals. On the Blueline, Brian Morse finished the season with 74 points (13-61-74) and his 61 assists ranked first on the Knights. His 74 points ranked him first in 18U AAA this season among all defensemen. In net, the Knights were led by Logan Verpoort and C.J Kier. Verpoort finished with a record of 22-2-0 and Kier finished 27-2-1. Kier also concluded his season with a GAA of 1.16 and SV% of .941, both of which ranked first in 18U AAA hockey this season. As the season progressed, the Knights saw 11 players sign tenders with NAHL teams. That list includes: Carter Olson (Minot Minotauros), Dylan Cook (Austin Bruins), Cody Croal (Austin Bruins), Ashton Christman (Kenai River Brown Bears), Jaxon Grosdidier (Aberdeen Wings), Adler Johnston (Austin Bruins), Tyler Johnson (Lone Star Brahmas), Nathan Mulder (Lone Star Brahmas), Brian Morse (Anchorage Wolverines), Mitch Simmons (Bismarck Bobcats) and C.J Kier (Bismarck Bobcats). As the Knights season comes to a close, the team will see 17 players depart and will look to Caleb Elfering, Cooper Fredericks, Kaleb Pitman, Nathan Huntington, Dawson McCann, Nate Farrell, Luke Russell and Brady Jones to guide the 18U Knights next season. “We are so very thankful for the opportunity to spend every day growing and learning with such an outstanding group of young Godly Men”, said Galiardi. “These seniors have been such a fun group to be around and have set a standard of excellence in our three pillars. They have set the bar high for not only next year’s group,  but for all future Knights to both uphold and maintain.”

Although the Knights game season has finished up, the Knights still have plenty to look forward to as the 16U Knights will participate in TeenPact and the 18U Knights will travel to Iberia, MO for a mission trip through Convoy of Hope. The Knights would like to sincerely thank everyone who has supported this season!