Head coach: Andy Mair

Assistant coaches: Forwards - Andy Tufto. Defense - Chuck Nichols. Goalies - Mark Schiffman. JV Forwards - Charlie Smothers. JV defense - Mark Grundhofer. Volunteer - Roger Del Fiacco.

Captains: Mikey Behring, Jack Obrien, Gus Leivermann and Chase Holcomb.

Second year coaching staff: “I think for the assistants and players, they now know what I expect on a day to day basis,” Mair said. “Instead of it being new for all the players, the returners can help guide the younger guys. For myself and my staff, I think a year in just gives us more time to work through ideas and plans. We are all on the same page and are comfortable with how each other works.”

Leaders: “The captains will be leaders (two are juniors), but I expect leadership from all returning varsity players regardless of their age,” Mair said. “Overall we are returning a lot of our defensive core and our goalie. We graduated a lot of forwards, so returners Jack Obrien, Chase Holcomb and Louie Bodem will lead our forwards and Gus Leivermann and Danny Appelgren will lead the defensive core.”

Expectations: “Our expectation is as cliche as it sounds - to keep building off our success last year,” Mair said. “I think especially with this being a younger team, is to take it one game at a time. There are no freebies in high school hockey. I expect us to compete, go our hardest and be focused every single game.”

2019 look: “I have not put out a specific goal to the team, while its important to see the big picture we really want to focus on one game at a time,” Mair said. “Each year is different. Last year we were a more offensive, opened up team. This year we are going to be more of a defensive team that is going to limit the other teams chances.”

Conference and section outlook: “I can’t definitely say, but I can say that there are several teams that had players who have given us a lot of problems over the years graduated,” Mair said. “I’d expect the usual big dogs at the top with Orono and Delano in our conference and section.”

Game one

The Waconia offense had no shortage of scoring chances Friday night when taking on Winona in the home opener. The Wildcats outshout the Winhawks 16-4 in the first period and 42-19 for the game, yet a stellar night from the opposing goaltender kept the ‘Cats off the board until late in the game.

Trailing 3-0 going into the third period, Tyson Wiese gave Waconia life by scoring 2 minutes into the period, then Geno Piccioli drew Waconia within one by slipping past the defense to score a shorthanded goal (assisted by Jack O-Brien). Yet the comeback was not to be, as Winona scored an empty net goal to put the final score at 4-2.

After the Thanksgiving break, the Wildcats host Chanhassen Dec. 5 before heading to Southwest Christian/Richfield Dec. 7 and Bloomington Kennedy Dec. 10. The Wildcats return home Dec. 12 to take on Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato Dec. 12, their last home game for nearly a month, as a five-game road trip the rest of December has Waconia away from home until a Jan. 7 meeting with Mound Westonka.

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