Benilde hockey hoping to finally top section, state

This story originally appeared in the Holiday issue of ESPNHS magazine’s Minnesota edition.

Last season, Benilde-St. Margaret’s was very good. The Red Knights had talent, depth, speed and were ready for a deep playoff run.

Problem was, so was everyone else in Section 6AA. It’s a group that includes top teams such as Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins and several others.

“Last season went pretty well,” says head coach Ken Pauly. “Except the ending.”

The Knights, beset by injuries, lost in the section semifinals to Wayzata. But there’s another opportunity this winter, and the Red Knights are hoping to take advantage. Leading the charge is a stellar player, junior GRANT BESSE, who was second on the team in points last year with 33 goals and 20 assists.

“I really feel like he is going to have a breakout year,” Pauly says. “He’s on target to be the all-time scorer in school history. He’s just a pure sniper, and people are going to be surprised. He put on some size and strength.”

Fellow junior DAN LABOSKY, who added 10 goals and 33 assists last winter, is another player who will be pivotal to this team’s success.

“My phone’s been ringing off the hook about him,” Pauly says. “He’s a small-ish player, but he’s got explosive speed. If you’re playing against him, you probably don’t like him much.”

Anchoring that impressive line is junior T.J. MOORE (17 G, 20 A last year). And then there’s senior CHRISTIAN HORN, who is expected to graduate as the school’s all-time leading scorer — that is, until Besse challenges the mark next year. Sophomores RYAN COLLINS and JACK GLOVER will be pivotal to the defensive effort, as the unit isn’t deep but has enough talent to contend.

“You’re always building toward something in our section,” Pauly says. “You only get so many windows of opportunity, but we think we have a two-year window, and we have to step through it.”

Christopher Parish is an associate editor with ESPNHS magazine. You can reach him on Twitter @CParishESPNHS.