'Three Thieves' connection lifts Jets
by By Mark Weiby
The NAHL has been a homecoming of sorts for three Fargo-Moorhead Jets. Robby Philipp, Michael Benedict and Cody Bottem all skated for Minnesota's Thief River Falls High School before being reunited this season.
"We've had success with Thief River Falls in the past and the Northern Minnesota area has great character kids as well," said Jets coach Chad Johnson.
It all started a few years back when the Jets landed Philipp, who had just helped the Prowlers to the Minnesota high school Section 8A title his senior season.
Philipp has played in over 65 games and amassed 47 points (14 goals, 33 assists) since joining the Jets in 2006. Those numbers can't help but increase this season due to the hard work and effort that he hits the ice with day after day.
"It's like old-time hockey with friends here at the (Fargo) Coliseum," Philipp said.
Through 13 games this year, Philipp leads the team in points with 15 on six goals and was named the league's Central Division Player of the Week for the week ending Oct. 21.
Benedict, a defenseman, comes to the Jets after collecting 21 points on 10 goals in 23 games his senior year with the Prowlers. He's hoping to parlay his success into a college hockey opportunity.
"We played together all the way through school and the comfort level continues here with the Jets," Benedict noted. "You can always rely on them."
Benedict has appeared in seven games, recording one assist.
Bottem played in only eight games last season with Thief River because of a broken collar bone, but still chipped in five goals for 15 points.
"It's nice to be playing at 100 percent because I get to contribute on a regular basis with the Jets," said Bottem.
"Coming back from an injury, Cody was everything we expected and more getting a hat trick in the section semifinals," Benedict said.
Bottem, who has totaled a goal and two assists, along with a plus-3 rating, after 10 games this season, couldn't be happier to team up again with his Prowler teammates in Fargo-Moorhead.
"It seems like the old days again playing with Benny and Philipp," he said.