The 2017-18 hockey season was a special one for Highland as the Bulldogs reeled off four wins in the Mississippi Valley Conference Hockey Association playoffs to capture the Class 1A championship last February.
Only four players graduated from the club and with the core returning, and a few newcomers, the Bulldogs are primed to make another run at the Class 1A title again this winter.
“I look forward to defending our title and trying to repeat (this year),” Highland coach John Criswell said.
Junior forward is back this year and he will be leaned on to help lead the team as captain.
Korte will be switching to the front line from playing primarily defense as a sophomore. He was second in scoring last season with 33 goals and 35 assists.
With last year’s captain Ross Troxel graduating, Korte, who made the MVCHA all-star team last year, has a big pair of shoes to fill.
“I made him my captain this year because I have a lot of confidence in him both on and off the ice as a leader of the team,” Criswell said. “He’s very good at helping develop kids around him. Lucas has big shoes to fill but I think he’s up to it.”
Senior Blake Tinsley returns as at another forward spot to anchor the Bulldogs main scoring line.
On the back line, the defense will anchored by senior Cameron Verson, junior Travis Woodall, and junior Reese Tackett. Verson was not able to play last year due to a concussion and is expected to be a major addition to the team.
Senior Cody Blackburn is back in goal for the Bulldogs, as he will patrol the net. Blackburn went 12-7-2 between the pipes as a junior last season.
“He did a great job last year in goal and was a huge contributor to us winning the championship,” Criswell said.
In order to stay in the win column this winter and challenge for the championship again, the Bulldogs plan to hang their helmets on their defense.
“I think we’re going to be a really good defense-minded team,” Criswell said. “We may be a little bit slower up front at forwards but you have to play defense first, so I think we’re going to be pretty strong defensively this year.”