Some big names have played hockey for Holy Angels over the years, including current NHL players Erik Johnson and Jack Hillen, former Metro Player of the Year Jay Barriball and current Gophers scoring leader Mike Reilly.
But none accomplished what Owen Larson has done this year. The senior forward set the team record for goals in a season, 37, with four in a victory over Minnehaha Academy on Feb. 10. He broke the record of 36, which was set by Billy Hengen in 2001.
“It means a lot to me,” Larson said. “I’m thrilled about it, but I have to give a lot of the credit to my linemates and the guys around me. They’ve done an outstanding job of giving me the puck in places where I can put it in the net.”
Staff writer Jim Paulsen spoke with Larson about his record-setting season and an on-ice pursuit away from hockey.
Q Who are those linemates that you credit for your success?
A Marshall Barnes and Joe Sullivan. I’ve been playing with those guys for three years. And defenseman Cooper Sande. I’ve played with him all my life. We’re all really speedy, and we know what each other is going to do before we do it.
Q What’s the key to being a good goal-scorer?
A: A lot of hard work. I never guess what I’m going to do with the puck when I get it. I already have that planned out.
Q What type of works goes into scoring?
A Our coach, Trent Palm, likes to spend about 20, 25 minutes every practice on putting the puck into the net. Making moves, one-timers, 2-on-1s, 3-on-2s. And our goalie coach, Ryan Ess, gives us great scouting reports on where to shoot, what angles to shoot from and where rebounds go.
Q Were you shooting for the school record?
A I didn’t even know what the record was at the beginning of the season. But as we started to get better and the quality of our play improved, I thought it might be a goal to accomplish that. But it always seemed like a long shot.
Q What can Holy Angels do in the playoffs?
A What can’t we do? I encourage people to start watching us.
Q What is your first hockey memory?
A When I was 4, I remember stepping out on to the ice at Handke Pit in Elk River, where my dad grew up playing.
Q Is there anything that smells worse than a hockey equipment bag?
A I’m used to it. I think people think it’s worse than it really is, although my mother is completely on the other end of the spectrum on that. I just tell people it’s the smell of success.
Q What is the one thing about hockey that you cherish?
A That feeling after putting the puck in the net and celebrating with the guys on your team. My teammates are my best friends.
Q What is your favorite hockey memory?
A In my first year in Bantam A hockey, we went to the state tournament. We had a lot of good players on that team: Jack Glover and Ryan Collins, who are both with the Gophers right now. Jack Jablonski was on that team. That was a very talented team. We ended up winning the consolation championship.
Q Your family is also involved in playing bandy [similar to hockey, played on a soccer-field sized sheet of ice with a ball instead of a puck]. Do you play?
A I’ve been to Sweden twice to play in bandy tournaments. It’s all about skating. I give a little credit to bandy for my skating ability.