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Addition of Hononegah to Co-Op Gives Beloit Memorial Hockey Team More Depth

Beloit Memorial head coaches have fought the battle for years to extend their co-op to include Hononegah High School.

For a myriad of reasons, they always came away empty-handed.

Until this season, that is.

The Purple Knights will include five Hononegah players when they drop the puck for their season opener against Sun Prairie at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 21 at the Edwards Ice Arena. They’ll look to improve on last season’s 8-14-0 mark with half of the 24-player roster seniors.

“It’s taken a long time, but the good news is that Hononegah has joined the co-op and they will be a helpful addition,” head coach James Hoey said. “Hopefully, these five players have a good experience and we build on it. They’ve had a chance to blend in with ice time over the summer in Janesville and playing in a summer tournament. Besides, they all knew each other. They’re not strangers. They grew up playing together in the (Beloit Youth Hockey Association).”

The five are Gentry Grant, Ayden Thompson, Brayden Lane, Gavin Brady and Preston Mayberry. Hoey expects junior Grant to start in goal for the Knights and pick up right where graduated Jameson Flanagan left off.

“We’ve had some real solid goaltending with Jameson and Aidan (Wright) before him,” Hoey said. “From what I’ve seen of Gentry in practice and the summer tournament, he looks like he could be a good one, too. I’m also hoping this year our offense will take some of the pressure off our goalie.”

That was the case this past July at the Ozaukee Ice Arena, where Beloit went 3-0 to win a round-robin tourney, defeating Milton 6-2, tourney host Cedarburg 6-5 and West Bend 4-2. Grant was in goal for much of the tourney.

The Knights got a lot of mileage out of their first line of Max Allen, Jayden Piccione and Payton Whalen and defenseman Cole Rowald had a great weekend, including a hat trick against West Bend.

“We controlled the puck and that definitely helps a goaltender,” Hoey said. “The past couple of years our goalies have had to face a lot more shots than we have been taking. That could change this year. We could finally start out-shooting teams.”

When the opposing team has the puck, Hoey said the Knights have three strong sophomore defensemen in Marcus Allen, Jaxon Walenga and Drake Juhl.

While most of the Beloit Memorial sports have transitioned to the Southern Lakes Conference, the skaters remain in the Big Eight.

“We feel like we could make some noise in the conference,” Hoey said. “It’s a tough league and our goal will be to finish in the top half. For us that would be a big improvement. We’ve struggled to get conference wins lately.”

“Obviously our senior leadership is our strength,” Hoey said. “We have a lot of guys with a lot of varsity experience. We have a chance to have three strong lines. In a perfect world you want to be able to comfortably go to any of the three. In the past we’ve had maybe two. But this year I can see us rolling three out the door.”

Since he expects to field a more competitive this season, Hoey said he upgraded his team’s schedule.

“We included some more sectional opponents in the non-conference schedule,” he said. “We’re looking forward to a good year. One of our focuses will be to get more students to come out to our games. Hopefully, we can get some Hononegah fans there, too.”


Nov. 21 — SUN PRAIRIE (Edwards IA), 7:30 p.m.; 24 — VIROQUA (Edwards IA), 3:30 p.m.; 25 — TBD (Edwards IA); 30 — KENOSHA (Edwards IA), 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 5 — MADISON MEMORIAL (Edwards IA), 7:30 p.m.; 7 — MADISON WEST (Edwards IA), 7:30 p.m.; 12 — at Middleton (Capitol IA), 8 p.m.; 16 — VERONA (Edwards IA), 6:30 p.m. 19 — at Waupun, 7 p.m.; 21 — JANESVILLE (Edwards IA), 7:30 p.m.; 27 — vs. Baraboo/Portage (Mandt Center, Stoughton), noon; 28 — at Stoughton (Mandt Center), 5:30 p.m. 29 — vs.Monroe (Mandt Center), 2:45 p.m.

Feb. 1 — at Janesville, 7 p.m.; 8 — at Monroe, 5 p.m.

Source: Beloit Daily News