Goaltender Mike Lee and defenseman Aaron Ness try to stay warm during the Rams recent outdoor game against Blaine. (Photo by Cary Olson)
In what was, on paper, one of the team’s better foes and, in reality, one of its most grueling tests, the Roseau Rams defeated the Blaine Bengals 1-0 in an outdoor game played last Saturday on Baudette Bay in northern Minnesota. Jason Fabian scored the only goal midway through the third period.
So how was it out there?
“It was really cold,” said right winger Kyle Bodell. “Apparently it was 42-below in the second period.”
That’s frigid for anybody, even though two of the more prominent hobbies in Roseau are snowmobiling and ice fishing.
“When we were going down river, you could tell the wind was pushing you,” he added. “It really slowed us down.”
Ironically, the conditions that day conspired against the players who were skating the most.
“I think it was actually warmer on the bench,” Bodell noted. “The wind was blocked by the boards and the glass.”
If the Rams really wanted to warm up after the game, they all would have headed over to Bodell’s house, where the hard-hitting senior has become known for his hosting duties – which includes video games on a big-screen TV and relaxing in a hot tub.
“I probably hang out there seven days a week,” said defenseman Mitch Martinson. “We’ll take a hot tub after practice, then watch a movie or maybe a hockey game.”
Martinson is one of ‘The Regulars’ at the Bodell house. Other Rams who often stop by include Dustin Moser, Aaron Ness, Ben Nelson, Brooks Lommen, Jason Fabian and Cole Kostrzewski.
“Last year we had 12 regulars,” Bodell said, noting graduation thinned the ranks. “So we’re kind of recruiting.”
In the small town of Roseau, bonds are formed early in life and The Regulars are no exception. Ness and Moser have hung out with Bodell for 12 years – about two-thirds of their entire lives – while Fabian and Nelson also come over at lunch during the school day.
The main set-up involves a Nintendo Wii and an Xbox 360, which the boys all chipped in to buy. This provided the perfect atmosphere when Roseau arranged to have the Blaine Bengals stay at their houses the night before the big outdoor game. Naturally, The Regulars brought their Blaine counterparts over to Bodell’s to show them how the Rams unwind.
“There were about 15 of us,” said Bodell, who hosted Bengals forward Mike Schaber. “We traded some stories, played Wii Bowling and talked about our seasons to come.” Which is generally par for the course. Between the classroom and the rink, being a Ram can be exhausting.
“We’re pretty lazy after practice,” Bodell said, which is why the video games come in handy. The bonding time also gives the boys a chance to strategize for upcoming contests. “After a game, we’ll talk about what we can do differently to improve.”
So far so good. After the Blaine win, the Rams took a 3-1 victory on the road at International Falls, no small feat in itself.
The International Falls Broncos are tied with the Rams for most Minnesota state championships with seven and this year’s team features potential NHL draft pick Jake Youso. While Youso tallied for the Broncos, it was no match for the two potted by Ness and another by Nelson.
The Rams, now 24-0-0, faced some of their toughest opponents right at the end of the regular season. Along with the top-10 ranked Bengals and the 21-3-0 Broncos, the campaign ends with the team Roseau defeated for the 2007 state crown, the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks.
Are the Rams ready to answer the bell? A look at The Regulars’ recent video game choice may give the inspiration:
“Call of Duty 4,” Bodell noted. “A lot of guys are playing that pretty steady.”
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.
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