SARTELL — Sure, Matthew Moran was thrilled to score a goal at Warroad Gardens, one of the state’s hockey landmarks, full of history and names like the Christian brothers and Henry Boucha.
Moran wasn’t satisfied. He hoped for a little more.
“It was nice,” Moran said. “I did it on my first shift.”
“I was thinking more would come. I didn’t think there weren’t going to be any more.”
Moran’s goal ended up giving Sartell a 1-0 win Saturday at Warroad. It also helped the Sabres’ senior center to be named the Times’ Prep Athlete of the Week.
“He’s a good kid,” Sartell head coach Ryan Hacker said. “He works hard and he’s kind of in a leadership role right now.”
After being on Sartell’s top-scoring line with Colin Johnson and Spencer Zwiener, Moran has moved to a new pair of wingers, junior William McCabe and freshman Jack Hennemann.
Johnson is playing on a line with Keenan Lund and Matt Michaud. Zwiener graduated.
“Playing with Spencer is a lot of fun,” Moran said. “He was a really great player and he makes it fun.”
The new lines have worked well so far. Sartell is 4-0-0 after beating River Lakes 9-2 heading into a Central Lakes Conference game Tuesday night.
Moran has a goal and six assists in four games. Overall, the Sabres have scored goals. Before the 1-0 thriller with Warroad and the shutout by Matthew Partch, they beat Crookston 7-4.
They average 5.5 goals per game heading into a big matchup at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at Brainerd’s Essentia Health Sports Center.
“It’s definitely a really nice start, especially playing good teams on the road like Warroad and Crookston,” Moran said.
Moran’s season started long before the season-opening 5-2 win Nov. 21 over Chisago Lakes. He spent October practicing with the Granite City Lumberjacks junior hockey team, getting into two games. He had an assist and was a plus-one as Granite City won both contests.
“It was a little nerve-wracking,” said Moran, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound, left-handed shooter. “The (NA3HL) is a little bit faster pace.”
“The main thing between playing juniors and high school is that juniors are all about moving up and continuing their careers. In high school, there are guys who are just out because they like being part of it.”
Moran definitely would like to continue his career. He will join the Lumberjacks after the season is over. He hopes to be drafted by a junior team next season. The biggest goal is to receive an appointment to the Air Force Academy, where he would play hockey, presumably after a couple more years of junior hockey.
“It’s a pretty lofty goal,” Moran admitted.
His coach is a believer.
“He had 40-plus points for us last year, had a really good year,” Hacker said. “Every day, he comes ready to work.
“He spends a lot of time at the sport and he’s done a lot of refereeing in youth hockey, too.”
For now, the goal is to see how the Sabres can traverse through the conference and then Section 6A. Sartell, ranked 19th in the state, is in a very tough section with No. 5 St. Cloud Apollo, No. 9 St. Cloud Cathedral, No. 12 Fergus Falls and No. 15 Alexandria all in 6A.
“We’re kind of a small, younger team,” Moran said. “But after two wins (over Crookston and Warroad), I’m excited to see how it goes.”
Follow Tom Elliott on Twitter @sctimestom or call 259-3661