Success has become the norm for the UW-Stevens Point hockey team, but this year it's been a pair of super sophomores that have fueled the Pointers to the top of Division III with an undefeated record.
Defenseman Stephan Beauvais says: "It's great, it's great to see those guys step up and take over the reins."
Goalie Connor Ryckman has dominated in net since taking over the starting job this year. Ryckman is 16-0-1 on the season while allowing just 1.4 goals per game, fourth best in the nation.
"You know I think last year with Max Milosek and P.J. bridges (they) really helped me out and really developed me to be in the starting role position that I am today,” said Ryckman. “I can't take my success on my own."
Head coach Tyler Krueger adds to that thought: "The biggest thing that I guess that he brought was his poise. You know his poise, his presence, his ability not to panic."
The Pointers most lethal scorer is also a sophomore. Forward Carter Roo leads the team in goals with eight and points scored with 17.
“I think talking with coach at the end of last year, I took a big step is what he was telling me,” says Roo. “So I think he kind of expected me to do more, and for myself I expected myself to do more.
"Carter's been great, he's got a great work ethic, he competes,” says forward Tanner Karty. “He's kind of a little ball of hate, you know he gets under guys skin. He does his job well, works hard, he's been really good.”
While some may be surprised that the Pointers are having this much success with so many young players in key roles, they certainly are not. It's part of the culture that's been established here, where everyone is expected to develop and take a leap after every season. It's a philosophy that should make this team scary for years to come.
"You know I expected all those sophomores, we talk all the time, for our program to be successful you need to take a step each year,” Krueger says. “From a freshmen to a sophomore, that much more is expected of you.”
The Pointers face their toughest test yet when they host #3 UW-Eau Claire on Friday night, the team they lost to in the WIAC championship last year.