Recap: Moose improve in rollercoaster season

In a word, the Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake boys hockey team was streaky. The Moose finished the season with a relatively balanced record of 11-15-1, but they took an interesting path to get there.
The Moose opened the season with losses in six of their first seven games, including a five-game losing streak. But that streak was followed rather immediately by some good hockey as MAML reeled off a 5-3-1 record over their next nine games. That stretch included impressive wins against West Fargo and Rogers. After a mini three-game skid, the Moose got back to their winning ways, taking four straight conference games down the stretch run, including a dominating 4-1 victory over the eventual Mississippi 8 champions, St. Michael-Albertville.
“You have a little sniff of something good happening, and it lifts your spirits,” said Coach Sheldon Weston during the four-game winning streak.
The Moose would eventually have that streak stopped, falling in the final two games of the regular season. But they picked up one more win, crushing Becker/Big Lake 7-1 in the section opener before falling 4-1 to Brainerd in a season-ending loss.
For the Moose, there were a couple of big positives to take away from the season. First, they improved on last year. Their ten win total was a three win increase from the year before. Second, and most importantly, there is reason to believe they have continued room to grow. The Moose lose a handful of very good hockey players, including second and third leading scorers Robbie Stromme (15 goals, 7 assists) and Reese Carstens (10 goals, nine assists), to graduation.
But they return top scorer Colton Jones (11 goals, 12 assists), as well as the next five top scorers after Carstens. They also return goaltender Darien Jones, who started 20 games this year for MAML. And while they will be coming off a season that ended with a losing record, they’ll also be coming off a season that ended with the Moose winning 10 of their last 20.
“They’re getting better every game,” said Weston of some of his younger players near the end of this season.
That progress produced a few strides forward for the Moose this year. It could produce leaps and bounces forward in the near future.

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