Roller Hockey Wins All but One

The Francis Howell North Roller Hockey team has taken the State title after a hard fought 3-2 win in Overtime over Ft. Zumwalt West last night. The Knights have won the Missouri Championship for the second year in a row after a similar 4-3 win over Oakville last year. Even though many of the players participate in other sports during the roller hockey season and almost all of them have played on the FHN’s Ice-Hockey team the commitment of the team is unmatched.

“Playing two sports is rough, I would often do good in one, but struggle in the other, but I have no regrets doing it, I loved playing roller hockey this year.” said Right Wing Brennan Buerck. Buerck was also the starting second baseman for Howell North’s baseball team.

After ending their Ice-Hockey season with a tough 4-1 loss to Howell Central, the Knights started the roller season out with an impressive victory in the Steelville Tournament in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, taking home the cup to start the season. For their season opener, on March 7th, the Knights played cross district rival Francis Howell Central beating them 9-4 and also beat last years runner-up Oakville 6-1.

“We had high expectations coming into this season,” Head Coach Cody Kettler said, “We had a good team and we were the champions last year.”

The Knights celebrating after the overtime winner.

The Knights celebrating after the overtime winner.

The Knights then lost 7-3 against Ft. Zumwalt South as several of Norths players were absent due to other sporting events. The Knights rallied after the loss and put-up several key victories against Rockwood-Summit, Howell Central, and Ft. Zumwalt West, keeping them in the top of their tier most of the season.

“We worked hard and played well as a unit all season,” Buerck said.

The Knights went undefeated the rest of the season ending with a final regular season record of 14-1. Afterwards they were seated first in the State and first in the Tier 1 play-off Tournament.

“We had high expectations going into the play-offs after last year, and we didn’t disappoint” senior center Cody Pingleton said.

The first round was easy for the Knights with Francis Howell forfeiting both games giving the Knights a much needed break before playing Ft. Zumwalt South. The Knights defeated the Bulldogs 8-2 in game one and then pulled off a close 3-0 win in game two.

The Championship game vs. Ft. Zumwalt West was close with the first goal being scored by wingmen Brycon Johnson  seven minutes and 21 seconds into the game. Zumwalt West scored in the first 19 seconds of the second half. The Knights then quickly responded with a goal 2 minutes later as senior Tony Mudd put one in the back of the net. The goal was assisted by captain Kyle Katemen, putting north back in the lead. Eight minutes into the 2nd half Zumwalt West scored a goal that tied the game for the remainder of the half sending the game into overtime. The Knights rallied in overtime as Kateman drove in an unassisted goal 33 seconds in, giving Francis Howell North their back to back State Title.

“Best feeling ever knowing you brought home the title for your team,” said senior captain Kateman.

“Walking through the halls as a state champion feels great,” said Buerck.


Senior Cody Pingleton holds-up Howell North’s second Roller hockey state trophy. (Photo by: Ashleigh Jenkins)

     The Knights have had a monumental season ending with a 19-1 regular season and playoff record. The Knights lead the league in goal scoring with 95 and held their                        opponents to only 47 goals, also a leagues best, giving them a point differential of +48. The Knights most notable players were #22 Kyle Kateman who scored 20 goals and    had 12 assists and was the Knights representative skater on the MOIHA All-star team who played Lindenwood University’s Junior Varsity Roller Hockey Team. Senior Cody Pingleton led the Knights and was 3rd in the division in points with 24 goals and 17 Assists on the season. Lastly Freshman Kavan Johnson, the starting goalie for the Knights, only allowed about 2 goals per game and saved 86% of goals shot against him on the season. This gave the Knights a defensive edge, and was also one of 6 goalies selected to be on the MOIHA All-Star Team.

“We had a great season, and these are great and tough kids, hope to see them all back next year.” coach Casey Escaraga said.

The Knights will be saying good-bye to four seniors; Kyle Kateman, Cody Pingleton, Brycon Johnson, and Tony Mudd, as they hang-up their equipment for the season. The Knights will take the summer off and will begin Ice-Hockey practice in August.

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