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Bell is Mr. Versatility for Coulee Region Chill

 

By Joel Badzinski | LaCrosse Tribune | Thursday, April 14, 2011

ONALASKA — Scott Bell never is sure where his name will be listed on a line chart. Center? Wing? Defenseman? 

“I’ll play wherever they need me to except for goalie,” Bell said. “Kind of dangerous there.”

Call Bell the Coulee Region Chill’s utility player. His teammates designated him their “Unsung Hero” — something they made official with a nice trophy at the team banquet.

Bell’s value will grow exponentially as the Chill go deeper into the playoffs.

If extra speed and tenacity are needed on the third or fourth lines, Bell will be there. If another solid presence is required on defense, Bell gets the call.

“Scotty’s the kind of guy that’ll go out there and do whatever you need,” Chill captain David Mylrea said. “He’s a warrior.”

Coulee Region hosts Bismarck for Games 1 and 2 of the NAHL Central Division finals Friday and Saturday at the OmniCenter.

In the Chill’s first-round series win over Owatonna, Bell started each game in a different spot: fourth-line center; left defense; fourth-line right wing; third-line center. Late in Game 4, he moved from forward to defense.

Shuffling a player around from position to position can be an ominous sign. It often means coaches can’t find a good fit.

Not so with Bell.

“That’s why he is so valuable,” Chill coach Garrett Strot said. “He can play forward and ‘D’, he’s played some power play and he’s one of our main penalty killers. He’s just been huge that way for us because of his versatility. He can make the transition because he’s such a smart hockey player and he pays attention to what everybody has to do on the ice.”

Bell, an Eagan, Minn., native, said he is ready for anything when Strot posts the line chart before a game.

“I don’t have a preference; it’s just playing the game and getting along with everybody,” Bell said. “It’s getting in the mindset of what you’ve got to do. If you show up and you’re a forward, OK, you prepare for that. If you’re on defense, you get your mind on the defensive part.”

Bell was strictly a defenseman in high school. He went undrafted by junior teams but stood out at a summer tryout in 2009 by the then-North Iowa Outlaws coaching staff.

“He was a kid we didn’t see in high school,” Strot said. “He came to one of our tryout camps and it was like, ‘Whoa.’ We told him, hey, you’re going to be on our team.”

Bell, 20, was mostly at defense during the 2009-10 season for North Iowa, recording 10 points in 54 games. 

Bouncing from forward to defense this season, he scored six goals and 17 assists (23  points) while being in the lineup for all 58 games. He has one assist in the playoffs.

Bell almost scored his first postseason goal in Game 4 of the Owatonna series. He skated into the Owatonna zone, pushed the puck between his defender’s legs and cut around him for a shot.

The nifty move brought the Chill bench players to their feet in mock surprise.

“That’s just one of the things that’s in Scotty Bell’s bag of tricks,” Mylrea said. “He’s usually the guy making defensive plays, but he’s got great hands that people don’t give him credit for.”

Said Bell: “For me it’s just one out of a million. I’m not one of those guys that’s going to pull off a (move). If it happens, it happens. I’ll smile along.”

DECISION TIME: Strot is taking a close look at goalies Paul Moberg and Aaron Davis in practice this week before deciding on who’ll start in Game 1 against Bismarck.

Davis backed the Chill to three straight wins in the first round against Owatonna. He is 3-0 with a 2.16 GAA in the playoffs; Moberg is 0-1, 2.00.

Against Bismarck during the regular season, Moberg went 3-2, 2.60; Davis went 1-0-1, 2.88.

“I haven’t made anything for sure yet,” Strot said. “Davis going 3-0 (against Owatonna) is pretty big. He’s on a roll. Both goalies have got to be ready.”

BOBCATS OUTLOOK: Coulee Region went 4-3 against Bismarck this season. Five of the games were decided by two or fewer goals and each team won a four-goal blowout.

Forward Matthew Gates scored six goals against the Chill and goalie Ryan Faragher, a St. Cloud State recruit, went 3-4 with a 2.84 GAA.

“They’re real good defensively and with their goaltending,” Strot said. “That’s kind of their forte. They don’t score as much as Owatonna or Alexandria, but they’re a lot stingier.”

 

nahl playoffs:  central division finals

 

GAME 1

Bobcats at Chill

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: OmniCenter, 

Onalaska

 

GAME 2

Bobcats at Chill

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: OmniCenter, 

Onalaska

 

GAME 3

Chill at Bobcats

When: 7:15 p.m. April 22

Where: VFW Center, 

Bismarck, N.D.

 

GAME 4

Chill at Bobcats*

When: 7:15 p.m. April 23

Where: VFW Center, Bismarck, N.D.

* If necessary

 

GAME 5

Bobcats at Chill*

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: OmniCenter, 

Onalaska

* If necessary