MARQUETTE - Mike L'Huillier is no stranger to the Marquette Senior High School hockey program.
Not only did he post a 216-66-21 overall record in 11 seasons as head coach of the Redmen before leaving for Florida, but has served the last four seasons upon his return to town as assistant coach to Joe Papin.
The latter has resigned and L'Huillier is back at the MSHS helm. He's familiar with many of the players and is excited about the coming campaign.
Marquette Senior High?School’s Forest Folker (24) gains possession of the puck as Negaunee’s Cody Erickson (20) tries to take it away Feb. 21 at the Negaunee Ice Arena. (Journal file photo by Matt Keiser)
Marquette Senior High School’s Justin Cain shoots makes a pass during the first period Jan. 18 at Lakeview Arena against the Marquette Electricians. (Journal file photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Marquette Senior High School’s Alex Zerbel (12) takes a shot against Kingsford goalie Wes Paupore (30) at Lakeview Arena Jan. 31. (Journal file photo by Matt Keiser)
"I'm very enthusiastic," he said in previewing his team before Friday's season-opening game at 7 p.m. at home against Hancock. "I think this team will mold into a good, solid team. I see a lot of leadership in the locker room."
The Redmen will feature eight seniors and nine returning lettermen from last season's 12-10-3 squad.
In goal, the Redmen will have a pair of experienced netminders in senior Evan Kyle and junior Ethan Wiese.
Nov. 16Hancock7 p.m.
Nov. 27Escanaba7 p.m.
Nov. 30Sault Ste. Marie7 p.m.
Dec. 1Sault Ste. Marie 2 p.m.
Dec. 6at Negaunee7 p.m.
Dec. 11Calumet7 p.m.
Dec. 15vs. Brother Rice at Sault 1:30 p.m.
Dec. 27Alumni game5:30 p.m.
Jan. 4Grosse Point North*7 p.m.
Jan. 5De Pere, Wis.*3 p.m.
Jan. 6Novi1 p.m.
Jan. 10Kingsford7 p.m.
Jan. 11at Hancock5 p.m.
Jan. 15at Escanaba7 p.m.
Jan. 18vs. Powers Catholic
at Flint Iceland Arena5:30 p.m.
Jan. 19vs. Jackson United
at East Lansing^ 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 25Midland7 p.m.
Jan. 26Midland1 p.m.
Jan. 29at Kingsford7 p.m.
Feb. 2Marquette Electricians7 p.m.
Feb. 7at Public School ShowcaseTBA
Feb. 8at Trenton ShowcaseTBA
Feb. 9at Trenton ShowcaseTBA
Feb. 14Houghon7 p.m.
Feb. 19Negaunee7 p.m.
Feb. 21at Calumet7 p.m.
Feb. 26MHSAA preregionalTBA
Feb. 28MHSAA preregional finalTBA
March 2MHSAA regionalTBA
March 6MHSAA quarterfinalTBA
* - Marquette Classic; ^ - CAAC Showcase
Both are returnees.
"We'll be strong in net," L'Huillier said. "Both are athletic and see the puck well. They also work hard in practice and will compete with each other for playing time."
The MSHS defensive corps will boast returnees Chris Amundsen, Shawn Cornock and Ryan Hanson - all seniors. Newcomers Brenden Shanahan, Jared Swajanen and Jake Phillips will round out the group.
"All are good skaters and quick with the puck," L'Huillier said. "They're big kids who'll give us good puck protection and they seem to be catching on with our system."
Up front, the Redmen got a boost with Justin Cain coming to the team after skating with the Marquette Electricians Midget AAA squad.
"He'll be our No. 1 center," L'Huillier said. "He's a good skater with all the skills to be a good high school player. He'll help us out, for sure."
Cain's projected linemates are senior returnees Tyler Jackson and Forest Folker, who has been moved up from defense.
"It should be a good line," L'Huillier said. "They're all smart with the puck."
Senior Cam Place and sophomore Scott Frazier will give the Redmen some forechecking, L'Huillier said.
"They're both grinders. Place is tough and just works," the coach said, "while Frazier likes to go into the corners."
Other forwards include returnee and junior Cam Verigin, senior Cam Fries, junior McKinley Larson, junior returnee Alex Zerbel, sophomore Brett Specker, junior Dominic Stanchina and sophomore Luke Schwemin.
"We have a combination of everything at forward," L'Huillier said. "We have kids who can handle the puck, forecheck and backcheck.
"Our biggest issue will be consistent goal scoring. We lacked that last year."
The coach said overall, the strength of his team - besides the goaltending - will be defense.
"We're strong there," L'Huillier said. "We have quickness in the defensive zone and good defensive zone coverage.
"We'd like to keep our opponents to 20 shots or less a game."
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.