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Boys' hockey: Royals work to build forward depth

The Woodbury boys' hockey team got a first taste of its team with its annual Thanksgiving Weekend tournament at HealthEast Sports Center.

The Royals finished 1-1 in the tournament, losing to Hopkins 2-1 on Friday and coming back to defeat Mankato East 2-0 on Saturday. Zach Lanz scored two goals for the Royals in both games, with Luke Swenson adding another score on Saturday. After seeing two low scoring games, head coach Wes Bolin said the first few games went as expected after Woodbury graduated a majority of its varsity forwards last year.

"Offensively, we're really inexperienced at the varsity level, and we know goals are going to be at a premium for us," Bolin said.

Out of 12 seniors that graduated from last year's team, Bolin said about nine were forwards. This means there are a lot of spots open for varsity newcomers to compete for playing time.

"Our kids who were on the varsity last year, when you graduate the number of kids we did last year, they all are expected to take on different roles," Bolin said.

Last season, Woodbury finished with a record of 15-11-1. Bolin said it would be tough to predict Woodbury's goals for wins and losses this season, but he hopes to see improvement over the course of the season.

"We want to be a team that improves throughout the year and is ready to compete against better teams and get better," Bolin said.

This week, Woodbury will play North St. Paul at home on Thursday, Nov. 30, before facing Simley on the road Saturday, Dec. 2.