Golden Bears Defense Leading the Way

Chelsie Brown
Updated: December 25, 2018 10:54 PM

The Eveleth-Gilbert Area boys hockey team has started the season notching some pretty big wins. Their first was in their third game of the season when they defeated Chaska by one goal. Their second came against one of their Iron Range rivals Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl.


"We never really beat them throughout youth hockey - this group anyway," said senior left winger Gavin Maki. "It was a big win especially for my senior year."

"Last time we beat Virginia, it was brother's senior year in 2015. My brother was there watching so he was pretty jacked up we won," added junior center Bryce Kopp about the win.

Following those wins, the Golden Bears sit 7-4 on the season and you can tell that they're carry themselves a bit differently. The team feels like not only can they compete with their opponents, but they can beat them.

"I think that we have a lot of confidence and we know that we have a strong team," said senior right winger Josh James. "If we work hard, we can really beat anybody that faces us."

"At the younger levels these kids have had success all the way up. When you win at younger ages it makes winning at this age a little bit easier," added head coach Jeff Torrel who is in his eighth season at the helm.

Eveleth-Gilbert is made up of a massive junior class sprinkled in with a few seniors leaders that take care of things up front - but the team agrees their strength lies in their defense.

"We have a very good defensive core all the way back to our goalies," said James.

"They get the puck out of the zone really well. Anytime they have the puck in our zone it's usually out of the zone pretty quick," added Kopp.

"It has to be with any team that's going to move forward in our section," said Torrel about the team's defense. "We're probably in the toughest section in the state."

They haven't necessarily seen the goal production they've liked to so far this season, but by picking up the tempo and intensity in practice, the team hopes that will translate to game scenarios to help prepare the Golden Bears for the battle come playoff time.

"With good defense, goals will usually come. Hopefully if we keep up good defense, keep up the teamwork, keep doing the simple things, we'll score more goals," said Maki.

"Scoring goals early in the season is not as important as scoring them at the end of the season," said Torrel. "As long as we're getting the chances, I know the offense will eventually start clicking."


Chelsie Brown

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