Hockey: Elk boys start new era Saturday under coach Gordie Roberts

Elk River-Zimmerman boys hockey starts a different era Saturday evening under new coach Gordie Roberts. The Elks will host Wayzata at 7 p.m.

Gordie Roberts

The former North Star defenseman succeeds Tony Sarsland (27 years, 588 wins, six state trips). There’s two new assistants as well in Chris Prosser and Bruce Johnson, with last year’s JV and interim head coach Ben Gustafson staying on.

Top two scorers from a 16-9-2 team return:  junior Andrew Zerban (22 goals, seven assists) and sophomore Jake Jaremko (10 goals, 15 assists). They were all-NWSC, and Wyatt Ege (sr D) honorable mention.

“We have seen some good things,” said Roberts, referring to summer workouts and a scrimmage at Burnsville. “We have good work ethic, and good cycling down low, and we’ve been able to move the puck out of the zone. But we’ll have to play a good team to see where we are at.”

After four years of Anders Franke in goal, the duties fall to Cam Korlath (sr) and junior Maclean Berglove (jr).  “We plan on using both,” said Roberts.

They intend to develop two consistent scoring lines to take the pressure off each other, the coach said. Centers are Jake Jaremko, Reggie Lutz (so) and Nick Bandescu (sr). Wingers are Chase Springman (jr), Zerban, Austin Larson (jr), Grant Bunker (jr), Ben Johnson (so) and Isaac Schwab (jr).

Defensively, Roberts said, “We’ve got combinations of puck movers and guys who can play the body,” with initial pairings being Wyatt Egge (sr) and Colton Budreau (jr), Blake Hillman (jr) and Joe Gonrowski (jr), and  Cooper Bleyhl (sr) and Jack Geissler (jr).