The numbers virtually jump off the Minneapolis Novas' statistical page: Five consecutive games with 10 or more goals, a total of fifty-six goals while giving up only three.

In their last five games back to Jan. 7, the Novas -- the lone high schoolboys' hockey program in the Minneapolis Conference -- have beaten North Branch 11-0, Richfield 10-2, Moose Lake 12-0, Becker/Big Lake 13-1 and Mora/Hinckley-Finlayson 10-0.

"We have a senior-heavy team with a few kids who have a scorer's touch," said first-year coach Joe Dziedzic, a Minneapolis Edison product. "We're starting to jell, starting to gain a little confidence and that's led to some puck luck, some bounces going our way."

After a 4-3-1 start, Minneapolis is now 13-3-1, an improvement that has Dziedzic feeling positive about the program's future.

"We're trying to rebuild Minneapolis hockey," said Dziedzic, who has been assisted by former Minneapolis Southwest star Tom Chorske, the 1985 Mr. Hockey winner. "It won't happen overnight, but we're two city kids who took the challenge of trying to show kids that we're serious about making this a competitive program."

South's lucky seventh

With routs of Washburn and Southwest last Wednesday, the Minneapolis South wrestling team clinched its seventh consecutive conference championship. The Tigers have not lost a conference match during that span.

"The kids have really bought into what we're trying to do," said assistant coach Joe Morgan. "When I got here seven years ago, we had maybe 15 kids in the program. Right now, we have 40. Kids like to be part of a winning program."

Morgan, who wrestled in high school for perennial power Apple Valley, knows the success is relative but points out that the Tigers' streak of city titles is just as important as a run of state championships is to his alma mater.

"We're not Apple Valley, but our kids are striving for a goal and that's no different that anybody else," he said. "They're a great group of kids, they stay out of trouble, they work hard. They're everything a coach could ask for."