It is that time of year again, as a high school football teams and other fall sports prepare for post season playoff runs, the Midwest High School Hockey League Season is about to get started for the Ames Little Cyclones.
Coming off a season that saw the program go to it's first state tournment in 8 years, and with only four graduation losses, the expectations for the program are as high as they have ever been, in Head Coach, Chris Schmale's tenure and the Little Cyclones hope to build on last year's success when they open play in Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday October 27th at 7pm.
The Little Cyclones will begin play with a core of seniors led by Co- Captains Mark Wishman, and Spencer Oh. Jake Dedic, Izzak Bloch, Paul Fritzell, Orion Boylston, Danny Schmidt and Casey Inman round out the senior class and provide a core group of leaders that the coaching staff will lean on heavily as the year progresses.
The junior class will be bolstered by the return of Tomas Lence to the program after two years away in Des Moines, and the addition of Ben McGee another transfer from the Des Moines area. Lence and McGee join returning juniors Jake Thoren, Ian Kolb and Jesse Gamble to round out the junior class.
In 2011-2012 the Little Cyclones relied heavely on a talented freshmen class, and the expectations for that group will be even larger as sophomores. Led on defense by Forrest Oh and Grant Koehler, and on offense by Spencer Dedic the sophomore class made great strides through the off season and fall and are strengthened by the continued improvement of Luke Lenhart, Reed Bowman, Sam Gorden, Payton Boylston and Austin Lemper.
As with any program that is in a building process the contributions from its young core of underclassmen are needed and valued and the coaching staff will once again look to a freshmen group to step in and contribute at both the JV and Varsity level. The "new" Little Cyclones include Toby Linder, Gunder Howe, Ithaca Jones, Grant Waline, Dawson Perrin, Noah Goebel, Andrew Smith and Maddi Schweikert.
As October's training camp comes to an end with this past weekend's annual 3 day mini camp and Orange and White intersquad game, the Little Cylcones will begin preparation on Monday for a tough two game series in Lincoln, against a Lincoln program that will be looking for revenge, as Ames swept Lincoln in Lincoln at the end of the 2011-2012 season, to help catapult the Little Cyclones into the State Tourament as the number 7 seed. The series has all the makings of a great opening weekend in the Midwest High School Hockey League.
Ames will return to the road on November 2nd in Des Moines against their long time rival the Des Moines Capitals, before returning to Ames/ISU ice arena for their home opener against the Capitals on Saturday November 3rd at 5pm.
The home opener is the Second Annual "Quinn's Quest" cancer benefit game in honor of former Ames Minor Hockey player Quinn Boylston. Quinn, (who's brother Orion and sister Payton are a senior and a sophomore respectively on the Little Cyclones), lost his battle with brain cancer last September. All proceeds from the gate receipts will be donated to child heath and cancer organizations as the Little Cyclones and Ames Minor Hockey continue Quinn's Quest to find a cure for cancer.
Its that time of year again in the Midwest, and as the Little Cyclone's 2012-2013 team theme suggests: They are looking to do it better than it has ever been done before in Ames!