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Year of the Ram: Defending on all fronts

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

When Mitch Martinson graduates from Roseau High School this year, his best-case scenario for the future is a spot at the University of North Dakota.

Not on the vaunted Fighting Sioux hockey team, mind you – Martinson is instead trying to get into the school’s aviation program.

After spending Sunday afternoon in snowshoes, rabbit hunting with teammate Kyle Bodell, Martinson revealed that he had enlisted in the Army’s Minnesota National Guard last May and hopes to have a future flying for his country.

“I’ve always been interested in the military,” said the defenseman, who is an excellent plus-17 through 19 games with the Rams this season. “I started talking to recruiters and decided it was something I’d like to do.”

Martinson is in a Recruitment Sustainment Program (RSP), which prepares recruits for basic training.

“That way you somewhat know what you’re doing,” he said.

One weekend a month he travels to an armory in Thief River Falls for Advanced Individual Training (AIT), as well.

If he joins his older brother at North Dakota, he wants to get into the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), which means he would not be deployed before graduation and would come out of school as a second lieutenant.

“You become an officer when you graduate,” he noted. Right now Martinson’s AIT training is in combat engineering, which covers everything from blowing up barriers with C4 explosives to setting up floating bridges for vehicles crossing rivers. But another perk of getting into the ROTC at North Dakota is the school’s helicopter program, which is a dream for the blueliner.

“If I get into that, it would be awesome,” he said.

Ironically, while Martinson hopes to fly for the Army, he keeps his feet on the ground when it comes to hockey. He characterizes himself as a stay-at-home defenseman and often starts the game alongside Aaron Ness, he of 49 points in 19 games, though Martinson usually pairs with junior Ryan Weston for the rest of the contest. As a veteran of last year’s state championship squad, Martinson knows what lies ahead for the top-ranked Rams.

“Last year we started playing really good around this time,” he noted. “We know what we have to do.”

And lately that means taking care of business. The Rams took out lesser lights Crookston and St. Cloud Tech late last week, with Levi Nelson getting the win in net in the first match and Adam Knochenmus tallying three points against Tech.

On Tuesday, the Rams renewed their 60-year-old rivalry with the Warroad Warriors, this time traveling to The Gardens in Warroad for a rematch of an earlier Roseau victory at home. And while Roseau’s 5-2 win in the Jan. 9 game was competitive, the Rams stomped all over the Warriors this week, drubbing them 8-0. Knochenmus had four more points that night while Jason Fabian became the seventh Ram to get into double-digit goal figures with his 10th of the year. Goalie Mike Lee now has seven shutouts and a 1.00 goals-against average in 17 starts.

The Rams are 19-0 with six regular season games remaining.

The Hockey News will be following the Roseau Rams high school hockey team every week, chronicling its journey on the road back to the state championship and providing an inside look at what its like to be a teenager on one of the most fabled varsity teams in America.

Click HERE to read previous Year of the Ram stories.

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