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‘Freshman Line’ leaves lasting legacy at Cibola High By Matt Mackinder


fter each high school hockey season, coaches generally reflect on the positives from the season and the team’s senior class. At Cibola High School, the Cougars graduate three seniors and linemates this year in Tylec Kohlrust, Garrett McKinstry and Marcus Trujillo, a trio that was dubbed the ‘Freshman Line’ four years ago, and the name stuck. “This talented trio has been in the top of the league in stats all four seasons and finished this season as the top three in the league (Rio Grande High School Hockey League),” said Cibola coach Brett Lovette. “These guys have amazing chemistry, wreak havoc for opponents, and are fun to watch. They are not only talented hockey players, but they are also fine young men who do well in school and lead by example for their teammates.” McKinstry served as team captain this year and recorded 64 points (30 goals, 34 assists), while Kohlrust, an assistant captain, tallied 67 points (38 goals, 29 assists), and Trujillo, the second assistant captain, added 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists). They are all four-time All-Stars, have helped their team win three straight league championships from 2016-18, and have won multiple league awards throughout their high school careers. “It’s often been joked that we share one brain,” laughed McKinstry. “The New Mexico Hockey Association is pretty tight, and we have all had the same circle of friends for over 12 years. Hopefully, we can

generate more interest with the younger kids so they can benefit from the same positive experiences I’ve been privileged to enjoy.” All three graduating seniors have plans to attend and play hockey next season at the University of New Mexico for the Lobos.

Cibola High School’s ‘Freshman Line’ of, from left to right, Tylec Kohlrust, Garrett McKinstry and Marcus Trujillo, were ‘fun to watch’ the past four seasons, according to Cougars coach Brett Lovette.

Trujillo called the last four seasons with the Cougars “a pleasure.” “We all enjoy playing with one another and it made us friends for life,” he said. “It was a blast with these two by my side every minute, even winning the state championship three times in a row. The chemistry was always there, and from the first time our coaches put us together in practice, we just clicked. We continued

to dominate as a unit and it really showed whenever we played a tough team.” “Playing on the same line for all four years was a real experience,” added Kohlrust. “In the beginning, we were good, but as time progressed, we started to gel more as one single mind. Our chemistry grew every day that we played together. We acted as one unit and that’s why we came out on top. No selfish plays.” Moving on next year will be an adjustment, but one the players are looking forward to. “I’ll miss all my teammates,” said Trujillo. “We had a great bond together even if it consisted of road trips, playing Uno or all the inside jokes we had with one another.” “Most importantly, I’ll miss talking about our memories from freshman year,” Kohlrust said. “That was my favorite year.” Trujillo also noted that hockey is continuing to grow in the Land of Enchantment. “Hockey has been progressively expanding throughout the state, including high school,” Trujillo said. “There is a lot of young talent coming in from the younger divisions, as well as the new NAHL team (New Mexico Ice Wolves) that is coming in next season. The NAHL team will really put New Mexico out there, causing more people to be interested in playing hockey.” Kohlrust is equally excited to see the game trend upwards in the state. “Hockey will definitely continue to grow, especially with the new ownership at the Outpost,” he said. “New Mexico hockey will be on the map.”

Despite missing NHL playoffs, Coyotes finding positives treal for forward Alex Galchenyuk. Domi responded by leading the Canadiens in scoring with a team-high 28 goals and 44 assists. By contrast, Galchenyuk, who missed 10 games with an assortment of injuries, tied Richardson for the team lead in goals and finished third

niscus. The Coyotes then signed Schmaltz to a seven-year y all standards, hockey teams need to fulfill three contract on March 30. In the process of acquiring criteria for success: scoring, great goaltending and Schmaltz, Chayka also dealt forward Brendan Perlini stellar defense. to the Hawks. In 22 games with the Coyotes before the For the Arizona Coyotes, the franchise touched deal, Perlini scored two goals and assisted on four two of these critical factors, and the one outstandothers. Appearing in 45 games for Chicago, Perlini ing (scoring) will likely be the focal point of offseascored 11. son transactions. While Chayka’s transactions cannot be the For the recently-completed season, the Coymain reason why the Coyotes did not make the otes scored 213 goals and averaged 2.59 goals playoffs, injuries were an important consideration. per game. To exacerbate the scoring dilemma, the First, goalie Antti Raanta played in only 12 Coyotes were the only NHL team not to have a 20games before an injured knee finished his seagoal scorer, but four players scored 15 or more. son on Nov. 29. Forward Christian Dvorak, who While there can be the argument that the Coysigned a six-year extension last summer, missed otes achieved to a greater level than in recent seathe first 62 games with a pectoral injury. Defensons, no member of the organization can be satseman Jason Demers missed 47 games with a isfied creating tee times now instead of practice knee injury, forward Michael Grabner missed 41 times in preparation for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. games with an eye injury, Richardson missed 16 Once the season ended, there was the usual, games with a hand injury and Derek Stepan, who “I’m proud of these players,” from coach Rick Tocwent down on March 28 with a torn MCL, missed chet and words of encouragement for the future. 10 games but played the final eight games of the Yet, the bottom line was the inability to put the This season, the Arizona Coyotes were a much-improved team from the season with that injury. 2017-18 campaign and will have definite motivation to crack the Stanley Cup puck in the net during critical times. Still, the Coyotes finished with 86 standPlayoffs for the 2019-20 season. Photo/Norm Hall “Obviously, we wanted to get in the playoffs ing points in the Pacific Division and that was a and felt we played well enough to qualify,” said Coyotes in scoring with 41 points behind Clayton Keller (47) 16-point improvement over last season. forward Brad Richardson, who scored a career-high and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (44). Now, there is the arduous task of offseason condi19 goals. “It’s disappointing, but we can hang our hats In a mid-season transaction, Chayka dealt forward tioning, but when the Coyotes assemble at Gila River the way we battled. It just came down to where we Dylan Strome to Chicago, Arizona’s first-round pick Arena for training camp in September, there will be a didn’t quite score enough goals.” (third overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft. Strome respond- carat dangling in front of each player. If the Coyotes lacked scoring at critical times, that ed by scoring 17 goals and 50 points in 57 games with “We made huge strides this season,” Richardson may have resulted from a few trades made by general the Blackhawks. In return, Chayka picked up forward said. “Last year, I think we were out of the playoffs by manager John Chayka. Nick Schmaltz, who picked up 14 points in 17 games Nov. 1. It was all there this time and we thought we Last offseason, he dealt center Max Domi to Mon- before his season ended on Dec. 31 with a torn me- would get in. It was heartbreaking.”

By Mark Brown



Arizona Rubber Hockey Magazine

Profile for Rubber Hockey Magazines

Arizona Rubber Magazine - April 2019  

The April edition of Arizona Rubber Magazine, featuring the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association on the cover, has hit the streets!

Arizona Rubber Magazine - April 2019  

The April edition of Arizona Rubber Magazine, featuring the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association on the cover, has hit the streets!