The DeForest boys hockey co-op took a turn in the right direction this season under first-year coach Brent Richter.

After earning just four wins in each of the previous two seasons, the Norskies improved to 7-16-1 overall this year.

The Norskies have not had a winning season since finishing 13-10-1 during the 2016-2017 season.

DeForest continued to struggle in Badger North Conference play. They failed to win a game for the third straight year.

The Norskies were sixth in the Badger North with a 0-10 record.

Waunakee claimed the conference title with a 9-1 mark, followed by Sauk Prairie (7-3), Beaver Dam (6-3-1), Reedsburg (4-6), Baraboo-Portage (3-6-1) and DeForest.

The Norskies had a tough start to the season. They dropped their first four games before earning a 5-1 non-conference win over Aquinas-Holmen.

After going 1-7 to open the year, DeForest had its most successful stretch. They earned wins over New Berlin (4-0) and Reedsburg (4-2) at the Cheeseburger Classic in Wisconsin Dells and a non-conference victory over Viroqua (8-3).

The Norskies were unable to hold on to the momentum and dropped their next six games.

DeForest stopped the streak with a 3-3 tie against Waukesha. The Norskies followed with non-conference wins over Monona Grove (9-3) and Black River Falls (5-3).

After back-to-back conference losses, the Norskies closed out the regular season with a 3-0 victory over Milton.

DeForest earned the 12th seed in the WIAA Division 1 playoffs. They lost 7-0 to fifth-seeded Madison West in the opening round.

The Norskies were led by senior forward Nicholas Garnell this season. He had a team-high 35 points, which included a team-best 20 goals and 15 assists.

Junior forward Bryce Jacobsen also had a big season. He was second on the team with 15 goals and 11 assists.

Junior forward Carson Richter (seven goals, six assists), senior forward/defender Kody Kuchar (four goals, eight assists) and senior defender Tanner Wright (two goals, eight assists) were the only other Norskies to score double digits in points.

Also scoring for DeForest were sophomore forward Alex Rashid (four goals, four assists), sophomore forward Bobby Shaw (two goals, five assists), senior forward Isaac Knutson (three goals, three assists), senior defender Mitchell Thompson (one goal, five assists), junior forward/defender Finnegan Melchior (two goals, two assists), freshman forward Gabriel Larson (two goals, two assists), sophomore forward/defender Jake Barger (one goal, one assist), freshman defender Caden Leatherberry (two assists), senior forward/defender Jackson Elsing (one goal), junior forward Evan Thousand (one assist) and sophomore forward/defender Preston Nichols (one goal).

Senior Joseph Brethouwer and sophomore Alexander Kaminsky handled goalie duties for DeForest this season.

Brethouwer finished with 651 saves and a .897 save percentage, while Kaminsky had 151 saves and a .921 save percentage.

The Norskies had eight seniors on this year’s roster, including Brethouwer, Knutson, Wright, Maxwell Rehlinger, Garnell, Elsing, Thompson and Kuchar.

The good news is that DeForest will return five of its top-10 scorers next season.

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