Everything has come together for the Francis Howell hockey team to start the 2019-20 season.
The Vikings have started the season as one of the hottest teams in the Mid-States Club Hockey Association this winter thanks to a 9-2 record that has them rolling early.
In addition, Howell sits atop the Saint Charles Division standings with an 8-0 slate. It’s the program’s best start in half a decade.
“In my four years at Francis Howell, yes this is the best start we have had,” Coach Lawrence Bumb said.
Bumb pointed to major contributions on the ice from senior players like Drew Callaway, goalie; Nick Suiter, forward; Isaac Poisson, forward; Nicolas Kanters, forward; and Sean Lehman, forward.
“We only have five seniors, but [they each] contribute in a big way,” Bumb said. “We’re still a fairly young team, but because we’ve had a large number of underclassmen moving up. These kids have played together for a while, so things are just clicking.”
Another factor that has allowed the Vikings to thrive early is the fact that they, along with Fort Zumwalt West, are one of only two schools in the division that have two junior varsity teams instead of one. That is a major luxury at the prep club hockey level of play.
“We by far have the largest program in St. Charles,” Bumb said. “When we’re missing kids, I can just fill in so many players that just step right in and do the job.”
Tanner Wyatt [16 goals], Ethan Ormson [eight goals], and Kyle Vossmeyer [seven goals] have provided the scoring punch for the Vikings and kept opposing defense on edge as a result of their scoring prowess.
“Tanner is just a natural goal scorer,” Bumb said. “He’s got two triple-A wingers on his line in Ethan Ormson and Alek Nelson. They just work well together. Kyle Vossmeyer is just a kid that will not be outworked [for the puck]. He on a line of the same type with his wingers Isaac Dill and Quinton Rash and they just outwork the opponents, overwork a team and get great scoring chances.
Defensively, the Vikings lean on their strong goaltending tandem of Calloway and junior Stephen Tiemeyer, Jr.
Callaway is giving up just 3.67 goals per game and Tiemeyer 1.73 goals per game in the net.
” … They have had tons of playing experience going into this year,” Bumb said. “If they’re able to square up to the shooter, they’re gonna make that save 95% of the time.”
Poisson has also been a big help on the backline on defense along with junior defensemen Trevor Hug and Ben Jackson, rounding out the team and reassuring their top spot at the start of the season.
“We don’t give up a lot of goals and we don’t give up a lot of shots,” Bumb said. “We try to make make it easy on the goaltender.”
Balance and depth have allowed the Vikings to be very strong in all areas.
“We’re just strong from goaltender to defense to forwards,” Bumb said.
The Vikings are enjoying the early success but do have their eyes on the bigger picture as the season approaches the holidays and prepares to head into the New Year.
“Our number one [goal] is we’d like to win the St. Charles division, which we’re off to a great start in,” Bumb said. “My goal is to make the Challenge Cup [playoffs] as one of the top 12 teams in Mid- States. Right now, I feel like we’re right on the bubble. I think they’re no better compliment for us but to be in the Challenge Cup and play with the absolute best in Mid-States.”