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Year of the Ram: These Rams go to 11

The Roseau Rams team is a tight-knit group (photo by Kim Drown).

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The Roseau Rams team is a tight-knit group (photo by Kim Drown).

The Roseau Rams high school hockey team hosted its annual holiday tournament to end off 2007, and did so in eviscerating style.

The Rams, taking on two nearby teams and a Winnipeg school, drilled the Lake of the Woods Bears 11-0 on Friday, the River East Kodiaks 11-3 on Saturday and the Farmington Tigers 11-1 on Sunday.

Nick Oliver scored six goals against the Tigers, including four in a row, while defenseman Aaron Ness had another hat trick and Trevor George posted two goals of his own. Jason Fabian had a hat trick against River East, while Adam Lykken scored his first of the year against the Bears.

And even though it was pretty easy counting up all the goals the Rams scored, Roseau comes armed to every game with a group of young women who tally up all sorts of numbers for the school.

The “stat girls” are student volunteers, who, like the players, usually come in young and stay for their tenure at Roseau high school. The current crop is made up of Ann Beito, Alyssa Horras, Sara Kofstad, Amy Thureen and Kelly Sorensen.

“We thought it would be fun to be part of the team,” said Beito, who keeps track of bodychecks, along with Horras. “We look for hits, what zone they took place in, whether they were good or bad.” According to Beito, Oliver and Kyle Bodell are the most frequent bangers.

Kofstad handles faceoffs and her research indicates one of the reasons Roseau has gotten off to such a good start to the season. “It’s usually about 70 percent,” she said of the team’s win percentage on draws. “Tyler Landman takes the majority of them.”

Thureen takes care of shots on net, while Sorensen is the official video camera operator. After game tapes are reviewed, the coaching staff will sometimes send off packages to NHL teams to big-up their players.

For the stat girls, being part of a team is nothing new. Many of them played basketball for Roseau and Thureen also played volleyball in junior high.

“I love hockey,” she said. “My dad played for Roseau and then went on to play at Bemidji State.”

“Everything is hockey here,” Sorensen said of her hometown. “The (Rams) just play hockey because they love it. It’s Roseau history.”

And as integral as the girls are to the Rams, there are of course some ground rules on those long bus trips.

“Obviously we have to sit right behind the coaches in the front of the bus,” Horras noted.

“On the way down there’s pretty much no talking, so the boys can concentrate,” Beito added. “For how much pressure they’re under, they’re doing really well.”

Nevertheless, at a school of just more than 400 students and a town of 2,700, there’s plenty of time for fraternizing otherwise.

“Everyone knows everyone,” Thureen said, echoing a common sentiment in town. “It’s like a big family. You know everyone in school.”

Meanwhile, the Rams’ website has narrowed down the finalists in a competition to give The North Rink, the town’s fabled community-run arena, a slogan to go on its new sign.

The candidates are “Where the Tradition Begins,” “Future Rams Begin Here,” “Building the Future” and a simple non-motto suggestion: No slogan - the name says it all.

Click HERE to read previous Year of the Ram stories.

The Hockey News will be following the Roseau Rams high school hockey team every week, chronicling its journey on the road back to the state championship and providing an inside look at what its like to be a teenager on one of the most fabled varsity teams in America.

For more great stories and features like this, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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