Aaron Ness leads the Rams with 15 points this season. (Photo by Connie Koenig)
Once or twice a week, Roseau Rams center Tyler Landman leaves practice at around 5:30pm and heads down to one of his part-time jobs. He sits down at a desk, dons a pair of headphones and becomes the voice of Wild 102, Roseau’s “No. 1 hit music station.”
He spins all the hits from the 1980s, ‘90s and today and when he can, slips a little AC/DC into the mix. In between syncing top-40 hits for the Roseau massive and delivering the weather report, Landman toils away at his homework. When his 6-9pm shift ends, he does what most Roseau kids do: He heads back to the rink.
“I wish every kid could go through what I’m going through right now,” said Landman, referring to his life in small town Minnesota.
Landman currently sits third in Rams scoring with eight points in five games, behind senior Ben Nelson (12 points) and defenseman Aaron Ness (15 points).
And like many Rams, Landman dreams of playing college hockey.
“I’d really like to play in the WCHA,” he noted.
Three Rams are already on their way there. Ness is committed to Minnesota, while goalie Mike Lee and power forward Nick Oliver are headed to St. Cloud State. How many more garner invitations this year will be interesting.
Certainly being the defending state champs puts a spotlight on the Rams, but they’re not the only hot shots around.
“We’re well aware of the newspapers,” Landman said. “But at the same time we don’t want anything going to our heads.”
And while the Rams don’t dwell on where they are ranked on message boards or chat rooms, they are keeping tabs on some of the other powerhouses in Minnesota, such as Edina, which boasts a cadre of top talent including Zach Budish, Marshall Everson and Connor Gaarder.
“They’ve got a tough first line,” Landman noted.
The Rams are undefeated after a 6-0 whipping of the Hibbing Blue Jackets on the weekend.
“That was a solid three periods,” Landman said of the victory. “I was really pleased with our effort.”
Ness once again led the Rams with a goal and three points, while captain Dustin Moser tallied two goals (Landman had one assist). Roseau scored within the first two minutes of every period to snuff out any hopes Hibbing had at making it a game.
Not only that, but Roseau played without Oliver, who was suspended one game for fighting, after Lee was run into by a Spuds player during the team’s 7-2 win in Moorhead.
This weekend will present a real challenge, however.
Roseau will travel to Grand Forks, N.D. for its first tournament of the season. Grand Forks Red River is the defending state champs, while Roseau’s opening opponent, Grand Forks Central, are no slouches, either. Rounding out the murderer’s row are the Bloomington-Jefferson Jaguars, a perennial powerhouse in Minnesota.
The games will be played at “The Big Ralph,” the same Ralph Engelstad Arena that hosted the world juniors in 2005. For the Rams, it’s time to put their No. 1 ranking on the line against their first dangerous opponents of the year.
Click HERE to read last week’s Year of the Ram story.
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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