Huskies’ Tedstrom, Kleisinger named second team all-conference
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” Fittingly, Connor Tedstrom isn’t going to a tropical Caribbean island for spring break.
He’s a hockey player, after all.
Instead, the Battle Mountain defenseman is spending his week off skiing. Not a bad second option, and a well-deserved one judging by Tedstrom’s play on the ice. The junior earned second team all-state and second team all-conference honors for his efforts last season.
Joining Tedstrom as second team all-Peak Conference was Cody Kleisinger. Kalen Burnett, Geoff Funk and Jack Sunderland were named honorable-mention all-conference.
Tedstrom teamed up with Burnett last season to anchor the Huskies’ defense, but he also had a second job ” being an offensive threat from the blueline.
“Connor definitely generates a lot of offense,” Battle Mountain coach Gary Defina said “He’s a really smooth player. I actually thought he should have been first-team all-state and conference. The only thing I can think of is he is not a senior.
“He’s really going to be a monster next year. Holy cow, he was a monster this year. He’s going to be even more dominant next year.”
The statistics suggest Defina is right about Tedstrom being first-team all-state. Tedstrom tallied 19 points last season, including seven goals. The point total was second in the state for defenseman.
The versatility allowed Tedstrom to see ice time on both the penalty kill and power play.
“It’s a little different role that I’m used to,” Tedstrom said. “I’m not usually a big goal scorer. It was a fun change. It was good to get out there.”
Kleisinger might have joined Tedstrom on the back line if not for his offensive prowess. The senior notched 19 points and 10 goals, and was still a physical presence on the ice.
“Cody was a prototypical power forward,” Defina said. “He’s strong. He really hits hard. He actually knocked a couple kids out of games this year with clean hits. He’s big and strong and he runs people over.”
The Huskies will not only miss Funk’s offensive presence, but his leadership. The senior captain set the tone for Battle Mountain this season. Oh, and he was pretty good with the puck. Funk had 23 points, including 13 goals for the Huskies.
He was especially clutch with overtime winners against Cheyenne Mountain and Rampart.
“We’re going to miss Jeff’s leadership, no doubt,” Defina said. “You could lean on him in every situation.”
The same could be said for Burnett. The senior was a stalwart in goal for Battle Mountain the past three seasons.
“Kalen started as an assistant captain as a goalie,” Defina said. “That’s not real normal. He had a great career at Battle Mountain.”
Not to be forgotten, Sunderland actually led the Huskies with 27 points last season. The sophomore tallied a whopping 19 assists and always seemed to be around the puck.
“He’s a real smart hockey player,” Defina said. “He really blossomed this year. The step he took this year was amazing. He’s a playmaker more than a scorer. Every team needs that.”
Tedstrom and Sunderland will be back for Battle Mountain next season, a strong nucleus for a talented team. Still, Tedstrom knows he has big shoes to fill with the departing senior class.
“The (seniors) were really good role models,” Tedstrom said. “They showed up at every practice and worked as hard as they could. All the younger kids looked up to them. For me next year, I hope I can be just like them.”
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.