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Blue Devils hope to turn numbers into victories

Angela Hanson (1) will be splitting time in the nets with Sarah Holm for Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Wadena-Deer Creek this season. Photo by Brian Hansel

George Behl and his Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Wadena-Deer Creek Blue Devils hope to lead a growing team to more victories this season.

The Blue Devils have 26 skaters out for their 2012 team.

"The competition level will carry into the games," Behl said. "Our competition level will be higher across the board."

The Blue Devils have four seniors on the squad - centers Halley Maas and Katelyn Peters and forwards Sam Killian and Brooke Umland.

Maas brings good speed and scoring punch to the ice. Barthel was one of the team's scoring leaders last year, and Behl likes her leadership qualities. Killian may have the most speed on the team. Behl remembers a strong finish by Killlian last year, along with some big goals. Umland is one of the team's better shooters.

"We look for her to score some more this year," Behl said.

Juniors on the team include defenseman Sarah Najjar, forward Kylee Helling and goalie Sarah Holm.

Behl respects Najjar's leadership skills and good shot.

"She's got a hammer from the point," Behl said.

Helling must step up her aggressiveness, but Behl rates her as a good skater.

Holm is the most experienced net minder on the team. Behl rates her athleticism highly. He also believes Holm will have strong competition for the goaltending job from Angela Hanson, a tough-minded, hardworking freshman.

"She has that personality that fits the position," Behl said.

Behl is looking for breakout years from sophomore forwards Ashley Helseth and Zara Einerwold. He is also high on sophomore defenseman Morgan Zeise.

Rounding out the team are sophomore forwards Carli Nundahl and Emery Dumpprope and sophomore defensemen Sara Casperson, Ana Sturdavent and Kylee Damm.

Freshman back include forwards Logan Theiler and Kathryn Benney.

Newcomers on the team are sophomore Brooke Ostendorf, freshmen Karlee Jonas and Natalie Minke, eighth-graders Eliza Gould, Moriah Cebulla, Abigail Ecker, Sara McCoy and Marlela Linares and seventh-grader Kenzie Christianson.

The Blue Devils tacked up only 44 goals in posting a 5-19 record last year, so scoring is one of Behl's main concerns. If the goals come, a much better season could be on tap.

"I think being .500 is realistic," Behl said. "I think we should have a chance to be a top three seed."