'They want practice to be harder, they want the schedule to be tougher': Rogers has unfinished business
Rogers wrapped up the 2021-2022 season with a 19-8-1 record, going undefeated in the Northwest Suburban conference, but lost in the Section 5AA championship game to Maple Grove. The team is hungry for the next step.
ROGERS, Minn. — Finishing off the 2021-2022 season with a 19-8-1 record, going undefeated in the Northwest Suburban conference and being the runner-up in section 5AA, Rogers boys hockey has a lot to be proud of, but they are still hungry for more.
The season didn't start off that way though, with injuries plaguing the team for the first few weeks of games.
"I actually think it made us better through the course of the full season because so many guys had to be thrown in the deep end in so many different situations," head coach Dave Brown said.
As the season went on, the Royals got stronger, and ended up defeating Maple Grove and Andover, two teams that would later play in the Class AA state championship game.
One of the big reasons for the success of the team this year was its junior class, including leading scorer Sam Ranallo (28 goals, 34 assists, for 62 points) and defenseman Chase Cheslock (third in points on the team with 39).
"They're relentless leaders," said Brown about the junior class. "They want practice to be harder, they want the schedule to be tougher ... they want to do something that no other class has done."
Another junior that Brown spoke highly of is defenseman Trent Peluf. "There are times when he's our best player."
An unsung hero can be found in junior goaltender Cade Chapman. "Sometimes he gets left unsaid ... I think he's going to have a huge senior year."
In Rogers' overtime win against eventual state champion Andover, Brown recalls the leadership that Chapman brought to the team. "Going into overtime ... Cade kind of stepped up and said, 'We're not losing this game, I don't care if you have to scrape me off the ice.'"
As for some of the junior class, many are curious to see whether they decide to return to the team for their senior season or opt to play junior hockey instead.
"For any kid trying to make that decision going into their senior year, you would be a fool to not leave all your options open," said Brown on some of the players decisions.
"I think that being a Mr. Hockey candidate and playing in front of a packed barn in your community doesn't last forever and I think that they have some unfinished business ... If I had to guess, I would say both of them (Ranallo and Cheslock) really want to come back at this point."
With that unfinished business, you can expect Rogers to get started right away when the season comes.
To hear more about Brown's thoughts on the season, favorite memories, and how he found the job at Rogers, make sure to listen to the full podcast or watch the video below.
0:53 Recapping the season as a whole
2:17 How Coach Brown found Rogers
5:30 Sam Ranallo, Chase Cheslock, and the junior class
7:14 Will some of the juniors return for their senior season?
8:50 Hogan Sinjem's season, his experience in the NAHL
10:35 Unsung heroes on the team
13:40 Bantam players coming up
15:21 Favorite memories of the year