Seven seniors lead MBA Storm
The Morris Benson Area boys’ hockey team had a slow start to the season, but turned things around in 2013 to finish 17-10 overall.
After losing the first three games of the season, and taking a 3-6 record into the new year, the Storm went on to win 13 of the next 16 regular-season match ups. Two of those losses, by final scores of 5-2 and 5-4, were to Marshall, a team that advanced to the state tournament. The wins included a 4-2 victory over Luverne, a team that shut out the Storm in mid-December.
The Storm won a play-in game over Wadena-Deer Creek, but a loss to Little Falls in the Section 6A quarter-final game ended the season for the team and successful high school hockey careers for seven seniors. Tanner Picht, Mac Beyer, and Andrew Rentz started playing on the varsity team as freshmen, while Brody Gimberlin, Darion Helberg, Jordan Staples, and Riley Blake have been playing for the last three years.
“They brought a lot of experience with adversity,” said coach Jim Kennedy of the seven seniors. “They worked their tail off at each practice.”
This season started out with adversity, but Kennedy said the team made a choice to fight back.
“We picked away at the season one game at a time,” added Kennedy. “We really turned things on after Christmas.
“Our senior leadership pulled through for us.”
That big win over Luverne gave the boys a lot of confidence. The Storm’s recipe for success had two main ingredients: offensive power and a defensive strategy to limit shots on goal. Three seniors led the offensive front, Picht, Beyer, and Gimberlin. Picht topped the 200-career points mark, while Beyer and Gimberlin both went over 100 this season.
Picht led the Storm, as well as the state of Minnesota, in regular-season points. His 86 points led all players in the state. He had 48 goals which put him in a tie for first in that category with another Section 6A player, Mitchell Swanson of Wadena-Deer Creek. He was 10th on the state-wide assists leaderboard with 38. Picht finished the season with 89 points (49 goals/40 assists) for a career total of 203, which puts him in first place in Storm history. He is the first Storm player to break the century mark in goals with his 107 and holds the record for the most assists with 96.
Beyer and Gimberlin also made those leaderboards. Beyer came in seventh statewide in both points with 70 and goals with 37. Beyer finished the season with 71 points (37 goals/34 assists). His career total of 157 points makes him third on the all-time list.
Gimberlin was fifth in the state with 40 assists. He had 63 points (23 goals/40 assists) this season for a career total of 104 for the 10th spot on the Storm’s all-time list.
Each of the other four seniors also contributed to the scoreboard this season, taking the next four positions on the team’s leaderboard. Staples had 35 points (7/28), Blake netted 21 points (11/10), Rentz netted 17 points (7/10), and Helberg finished with 16 points (5/11).
Sophomore Taner Gimberlin and junior Corey Storck each chipped in 15 points this season and will have some big skates to fill next season.
Coach Jim Kennedy shares his thoughts about the seniors on this year’s team...
#2 Brody Gimberlin Brody has been a big asset to our team since he moved up from Bantams. The one characteristic that you notice when watching Brody is his work ethic and attitude. Brody’s work ethic is contagious and we sometimes point out the “Gimby mentality.” Brody is a true competitor and gives it his all in every game in every situation.
#6 Andrew Rentz Andrew has made a significant improvement from when he joined our team as a freshman until now as a senior. He is respected among his peers and puts in extra effort in all he does. Andrew dedicates himself to school pride, family, and team first. Thanks for your effort, commitment, and character over the years.
#7 Tanner Picht Tanner made his first appearance as a freshman and has made every moment at the varsity level interesting. Tanner has been in the top three for points on the team since his freshmen year. Tanner always puts in the extra effort to make himself better. You can always count on Tanner for a beautiful play. Tanner has grown from a young teenager and flourished as a young man. Tanner finished with 203 points in his varsity career, which puts him first in MBA Storm history. Congratulations Tanner.
#10 Darion Helberg Darion has always come to the rink to get better, faster, and stronger. There hasn’t been a day that Darion has come to the rink and hasn’t left a winner. You can always count on Darion to be the scrappiest player in the corners and come out with the puck. Throughout Darion’s career he has battled injuries, but has always had a positive attitude. Darion is great role model and leader for the younger players.
#11 Mac Beyer Mac has seen a lot of progress since he came up as a freshman. He is a coachable player who has done everything he’s been asked to do. Mac seems quiet off the ice, but his loud style of play turns heads. Mac always seems to make important plays on the ice. His most famous play is a BIG hit followed by a BIG goal. Mac is the ultimate all-round player and his presence alone is important to how we play. Mac finished with 157 points in his career, which (makes) him the third highest point leader in MBA Storm history. Congratulations Mac.
#15 Jordan Staples Jordan has literally grown into a great leader and captain throughout the years. He’s always had an attitude about him to win and do whatever it takes to win. Jordan finished fourth on the team in points and is one of the smoothest 6’3” defensemen that has came through the program. Jordan is always looking out for others and making sure his team is taken care of. Jordan is a threat to opponents, either by his passing, playmaking, or his shot.
#17 Riley Blake Riley came to the varsity team as a junior and has been a key player on our team since day one. Riley is a smooth skater with soft hands. He turns a no-play situation into a beautiful play. Riley has always came to the rink with a positive attitude. Riley has always been that teammate that others gravitate towards. He’s a positive role model and will do whatever it takes for his team to win. Riley has shown a strong commitment for Storm hockey driving 45 minutes every day from Ortonville.
Thank you seniors for your dedication, effort, and positive attitude during your careers. Hockey is a game of adversity, successes, failures, friendships, responsibility, and respect. You have displayed those traits and will forever play an important role in the tradition of hockey for the MBA Storm, Morris Area School, and Benson Public School.