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Chill getting warm reception as hockey players reach out

| Onalaska-Holmen Courier Life | Friday, November 26th, 2010

Area elementary students got to “chill out” last week with members of the Coulee Region Chill junior hockey team when the players visited schools.

Team members visiting schools — including Onalaska High School graduate Nathan Trannel, one of the players visiting Northern Hills Elementary — are all part of the effort to establish the Chill as a local institution during its first year at the OmniCenter in Onalaska.

“We’re trying to be as involved as we can with the hockey community and the community at large,” said Rik Franke, marketing, operations and multimedia manager for the Coulee Region Chill. “We do whatever we can in terms of providing merchandise, tickets and getting our guys out for whatever we’re requested.”

Left wingers David Ripple and Bryan Broder and right winger James Hughes visited Viking Elementary on Nov. 17, which happened to be National Young Readers Day.  Ripple said it was his first time representing a team in schools. “I did it because the team wants to give back to the community,” Ripple said.

Franke said plans are in the works to visit West Salem and Bangor schools, but no dates have been set.

Franke said team officials have been pretty pleased with the turnout at home games. The first home game was attended by more than 1,000 people, he said. “We’re gaining momentum and popularity.”

He acknowledged their home losses affect attendance. But with a 10-4-2 overall record (as of Nov. 18), Franke is optimistic the fans will keep coming.  The team got the community involved in naming the team’s penguin mascot. The winning idea: Shiver.

Team members also played baseball with the YMCA Miracle League team, and the team is arranging to sell Habitat for Humanity raffle tickets at a home game. Team members also have been out at the Sparta Boys & Girls Club for their golf outing and the Nathan Trannel Golf Tournament for the Onalaska Boosters, according to Franke.

Franke said the team also has been giving to a variety of sports teams, items for fundraising, and “contributed lots and lots of merchandise and tickets for those functions.”

The team is arranging a fundraiser for the Hunger Task Force, which will ask fans to come to the game with boxes of macaroni and cheese. “Those boxes make great noise-makers during the game,” Franke said.

Chill goalie Davis helps Coulee Region knock off former goalie Asmundson and Austin

Rick Solem | LaCrosse Tribune | Thursday, November 25, 2010

A year ago Keegan Asmundson was their goalie.  Traded in May, Asmundson, for the second time this season, was back facing his old team Thursday and it was his former teammates that prevailed.

Asmundson was good, saving 40 for Austin, but Coulee Region Chill goalie Aaron Davis was better.  Davis saved 36 shots in his fourth career game and led the Chill to a 5-1 win at the OmniCenter.  After Davis survived four Chill penalties and 20 shots on goal in the second period, Coulee Region coach Garrett Strot knew his young goalie would be alright.

"They had those flurries, but that's one thing he's really good at, tracking the puck and you could see he was on it tonight," Strot said. "He played with a lot of confidence. He saw everything. He played relaxed."

Davis was nervous, up just 2-1 midway through the third period. Then the Chill put up three unanswered goals and Davis had a hard time containing himself.

"I was going nuts out there," Davis said. "I was celebrating 10 times harder than when I was on the bench after those goals."

The goalies put on a show in the first two periods, but the play of the game was the goal that ultimately decided the outcome.  Right in front of Asmundson, David Ripple dumped the puck between his legs to Lucas Dillon, who slapped it in from six feet out.

"I yelled for it, and he knew exactly where I was," Dillon said. "He was falling over at the time, the (defense) was right on his back and he just dropped it right on the tape."

Zac Frischmon, who also assisted on that goal, opened the scoring 32 seconds in to the second period before the Chill (12-6-2) put it away in the third.  Berkley Scott scored on a one-timer from Eric Drapluk and Connor Gaarder with 5:44 remaining in the game. Nine seconds later, the Chill had a three-goal lead when Chris Hughes found Jake Useldinger for another score.  Useldinger found the back of the net again with 1:45 left for his second goal of the game and season.

"We started playing physical," Dillon said of the third period, "and when we do that, good things start to happen for us."

Chill defeat Austin in OT to split the series this weekend.


The Chill were off to a good start on Friday.  James Hughes' first-period goal, assisted by Nathan Trannel and Chris Hughes, put Coulee Region on the board.  Micky Knox scored on the power play to make it 2-1 just 70 seconds into the second period, but the Bruins' rallied scoring three in the second and one in the third to defeat the Chill 5-2.

Saturday started the other way as Austin (7-12-1) took a 2-0 first-period lead until Zac Frischmon scored a pair of goals for Coulee Region in the second period.  Mike McDonald tied the game again at the 18:06 mark of the third period to take it to overtime.  Coulee Region outshot Austin 48-31 and goaltender Paul Moberg made 28 saves. 

Lucas Dillon, scored at the 2:19 mark of overtime assisted by Scott Bell and Matt Blomquist, putting the Chill at 11-5-2 overall this season.  Dillon has seven goals and five assists (12 points) and leads the team with a plus-10 rating.

The Chill play at Janesville on Nov. 24 before hosting Austin on Thanksgiving, followed by another home game against Alexandria on Saturday Nov. 27.

Coulee Region’s Moberg commits to Air Force

November 17, 2010 | NAHL.com

The Coulee Region Chill has announced that goaltender Paul Moberg has committed to the Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey) for next season.

Moberg, a 19-year-old from Forest Lake, Minn., holds a 9-3-2 record in 14 appearances this season to compliment a 2.53 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.

“Paul has proven to be one of the top goalies in the league this year, and I have no doubt he’ll continue to have success as a member of the Air Force Academy,” said Chill head coach Garrett Strot. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Paul and we’re very happy for him and his family.”

Moberg, who will compete in next month’s NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, is the sixth current NAHL player to hold a commitment to Air Force.

View the complete NAHL College Commitment List here.

Lucas Dillon named the Central Division player of the week

November 15, 2010 – NAHL Release

Coulee Region forward Lucas Dillon connected for four goals as the Chill skated to a two-game sweep over Austin. On Friday, the Thief River Falls, Minn., native put home a pair of goals, including the game-winner, in a 4-3 victory. The next night, the 20-year-old again lit the lamp twice as the Chill downed the Bruins, 7-4. He was also a plus-5 for the weekend.

“Lucas has been one of our most consistent players all year,” said Chill head coach Garrett Strot. “Since moving to center, he’s taken his game to another level.”

See the rest of the NAHL players of the week here

Chill beats Bruins, 7-4

By Rick Solem | La Crosse Tribune | Saturday, November 13, 2010

It took 52 seconds for the Austin Bruins to get on the board.  A few minutes later, they had the Coulee Region Chill down two.  That was enough for the Chill, who followed with six unanswered goals and won the NAHL contest 7-4 on Saturday night.

“It was a sluggish start, but we got stronger as the game went on,” Coulee Region coach Garrett Strot said.

The win in front of 903 fans at the OmniCenter pulled the Chill to 3-3 during their inaugural homestand. They are 10-4-2 overall and head back on the road until Nov. 25.

“‘It’s really important to be tough on your home ice,” Coulee Region’s Zac Frischmon said. “It’s nice to get on a roll here.”

Like the Bruins (6-11) did in the first period, Frischmon followed in the second, scoring within the first minute to tie things up.  It was his third game in a row with a goal and sixth in a row with at least a point.

“He’s been basically that from day one,” Strot said. “There haven’t been many games where he’s been shut out.”

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Blaine, Minn., native has recorded nine points over the past six games, including three points Saturday. He’s only been shut out three times this season, but he could care less if he’s scoring as long as the Chill keeps winning.

“It’s nice getting the points, but obviously I owe that to my team,” Frischmon said. “I’d be nothing without them.”

After his tying goal, Frischmon and Ben Jaremko assisted Connor Gaarder for the go-ahead score midway through the second period.  After that, the rout was on — for awhile — but it wasn’t just the offense that helped the Chill come back.

Chill goalie Paul Moberg was inspiring in the second period. He elicited “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from the fans with a pair of glove saves from point-blank shots. He finished with 29 saves.

“He’s, in my opinion, the best goalie in the league,” said Lucas Dillon, who has scored a pair of goals in the past two games. “It’s nice to know you have a goalie that can stop pretty much anything that’s coming.”

Austin made things interesting down the stretch with a pair of goals to pull within 6-4, but then Dillon shut the door with another goal. It was a rebound goal after the Chill sent two off the post.

“Lucas Dillon has been one of our best players the last four games,” Strot said.

The win was the third in a row for the Chill, coming on the heels of a four-game losing streak. 

“You have to win at home,” Strot said. “Hopefully that’s the only three we do lose at home, though in our league, that will be tough to do.”

Coulee Region Chill scores 4-3 NAHL hockey win over Austin Bruins

By Joel Badzinski | LaCrosse Tribune | Saturday, November 13, 2010

ONALASKA — Coulee Region Chill coach Garrett Strot might have to rethink the Lucas Dillon-Scott Bell-Jake Useldinger line.

Put together three weeks ago for defense, the trio put away two key goals Friday night as the Chill clipped the Austin Bruins 4-3 in front of 628 at the OmniCenter.

Dillon scored both, converting perfect feeds from Bell and Useldinger, his second coming at 12:03 of the third period to put the Chill back ahead after Austin had scored three unanswered goals to tie it.

“My linemates were feeding me passes at the right times and in the right spots,” Dillon said. “I couldn’t ask for better passes. Coach relies on us as a defensive line and when we work hard good things happen offensively as well.’’

Chill fans were treated not only to the win, but also to Onalaska native Nathan Trannel’s first appearance in a home game after suffering a shoulder injury last month. There were also two fights, involving Coulee Region’s David Ripple vs. Matt Pilot and Berkley Scott vs. Nolan Kirley, that brought loud cheers.

The best part for Strot was the play of Dillon’s line.

“They played great tonight,” Strot said. “We work on that all the time in practice, going hard to the net.’’

The Chill (9-4-2) seemed to carry the momentum from their last game, a 1-0 win over Alexandria on Nov. 6, into Friday’s game. They built up the pressure on the Bruins’ defense until Zac Frischmon buried his team-leading 12th goal at 3:08 of the first on the power play.

Ripple set up the goal by forcing a turnover behind the net and sending the puck in front for Frischmon, who punched in his own rebound.

Six minutes later, Connor Gaarder one-timed a hard rebound off Matt Blomquist’s slapshot to make it 2-0.

Dillon’s line produced its first goal with persistent forechecking, a theme for the Chill all night. Bell got control of the puck at the right circle and slid it to Dillon in the slot, who shot through traffic for a 3-0 lead at 7:07.

With goaltender Paul Moberg (41 saves) controlling the defensive zone, Coulee Region nearly broke the game open.

But Austin, which came in having won three of its last four games, shocked the Chill with three goals in the first 10 minutes of the third period. James Dickinson got the rally going with two goals, one on the power play, and linemate Cody Hotchkin tied it on another power play.

The flurry broke Moberg’s shutout streak at 103:26.

Dillon and Useldinger halted Austin’s momentum by converting on a 2-on-1 break. Dillon got behind his defender and and redirected Useldinger’s pass under Keegan Asmundson.

Finally, the Chill had to survive 1:20 of a 6-on-4 advantage for the Bruins, who pulled Asmundson for an extra attacker just before Coulee Region committed another penalty.

“The guys did a good job of keeping things outside at the end,” Strot said, “and Moberg was making some saves on pucks he didn’t even see.’’

Coulee Region’s McDonald commits to Air Force

November 12, 2010 – NAHL.com

The Coulee Region Chill has announced that defenseman Mike McDonald has committed to the Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey) for next season.

McDonald, a 19-year-old from Mahtomedi, Minn., has a goal and three assists through 11 games this season.

“Mike worked hard this offseason to improve his footwork and quickness, and his dedication and hard work paid off,” said Chill head coach Garrett Strot. “Air Force is not only getting a quality player, but a quality individual as well.”

McDonald is the sixth player skating in the NAHL this season to hold a commitment to Air Force.

See the rest of the NAHL commitments here.

Chill’s first home win is a keeper

LaCrosse Tribune | Joel Badzinski | Saturday, November 6, 2010

ONALASKA – Paul Moberg is going to keep the puck, and the Coulee Region Chill definitely will take the win.

Moberg stopped 22 shots for his first NAHL shutout in 53 games – he was the starter for North Iowa last season – and the Chill won their first game on home ice, defeating the Alexandria Blizzard 1-0 at the OmniCenter.

"I got the puck," Moberg said. "I thought about giving it away, but not this one."

The teams combined for 14 goals Friday as Alexandria used six power play goals to win 8-6. It was a completely different game Saturday. Instead of struggling on the penalty kill, the Chill held the Blizzard scoreless on six power plays while Mickey Knox scored the game's only goal on a short-handed rush.

"We weren't taking stupid penalties; we were more disciplined, and we took care of ourselves rather than worrying about the other team," Coulee Region coach Garrett Strot said.

Moberg gave up five goals Friday before being replaced by Aaron Davis in the third period. He bounced back in a hurry.

"I just knew I could play better," Moberg said. "We just figured sometime I'm going to get the bounces. The last couple of weekends things definitely were not in our favor, but I just kept my head in it."

Moberg said the team studied video of Friday's game, and except for a rash of penalties, didn't see anything that worried them too much.

"We made some dumb mistakes, simple mistakes," Moberg said. "We were pretty focused going in, and that was huge."

The game was deadlocked 0-0 through two periods, with Moberg and Alexandria goalie Jake Williams (28 saves) matching stops.

Coulee Region got the edge on a penalty kill in the third period. Defenseman Eric Drapluk got control of the puck in his own zone and chipped it ahead, starting a 2-on-1 for Zac Frischmon and Micky Knox. Frischmon held the puck until the defenseman committed and slid it over to Knox, who tucked it under Williams.

"Me and Zac have good chemistry," Knox said. "It was a great pass; he gift-wrapped that one for me."

Coulee Region had another goal waved off with five minutes left. The officials said the net was off, and Strot agreed after the game.

The Blizzard pulled Williams for a sixth attacker with 1:13 left in the third period. Moberg and the Chill withstood several rushes to the net, then got to celebrate their first home win since the team moved from Mason City this past spring.

"It was great to work hard and give our fans a win," Moberg said.

Five members of the Chill selected for the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced the rosters for next month’s Top Prospects Tournament, sponsored by SBK Hockey, which will be held from Dec. 5-7 at the Iorio Ice Arena in Walpole, Mass.  Five Chill representatives were selected including: leading scorer #19 Zac Frischmon, assist leader #10 Connor Gaarder. defenseman #7 Matt Blomquist, and goaltender #30 Paul Moberg.  Coulee Region Head Coach Garrett Strot has also been selected as one of the Coaches of Team Weight, one of the four teams in the tournament.

At the event, the four teams, named in recognition of four prominent NAHL alumni and comprised of the NAHL’s top committed and un-committed college players, will play a three-game round robin.  For more details on the Top Prospects Tournament, including the schedule, tickets and scout information, visit www.nahltopprospects.com.