Small in stature, big in heart. There's no better way to describe identical twins Ben and Caleb Beversdorf of the Arrowhead boys hockey team.
At 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, the Arrowhead seniors might not appear menacing when they take to the ice. But looks can be deceiving. Just ask anyone who's ever played against them.
"The Beversdorf brothers were born 15 years too late," said highly successful Arrowhead coach Carl Valimont. "Had they played with us 15 years ago and with the way the game was called back then, they were have been dynamite. They just love to hit, love to forecheck, love to play the game. The game is called a lot tighter now, so they have to be careful. We need them on the ice, not in the penalty box. They both have done a lot better this year keeping their emotions in check. Both of them are having outstanding seasons."
After winning two more games last week, the Warhawks are off to one of the best starts in program history. Prior to their Classic 8 Conference showdown on Jan. 10 with longtime rival Waukesha, Arrowhead was ranked No. 5 in the state and sported a 13-1 record, a mark that includes a 12-game winning streak. And the Beversdorfs are a big reason for that success.
Playing on the varsity for the third straight year, Caleb leads the team in scoring with 33 points, including 14 goals and 19 assists. Ben ranks sixth in scoring with 12 points, scoring seven goals while adding five assists.
One year ago, they had almost the exact same stats. Caleb finished sixth in scoring with 14 points, and Ben was seventh with 13. As sophomores in the 2013-14 season, Ben was fifth in scoring with 9 points, and Caleb was 11th with 7 points.
The twins play on different lines, but it's not uncommon for Valimont to use them both at the same time when the situation calls for it.
"I'm very pleased how the season is going," Ben said. "We're on separate lines, and I think that's probably better for us. But when the team needs a little push, coach puts us both in the game at the same time. We both like that when it happens."
Valimont said the brothers have come on strong this season, making plays both offensively and defensively.
"Both Ben and Caleb have made big strides forward this season in all phases of the game," the Arrowhead coach said. "They both have plenty of skill. But what I like best about them is they compete at a very high level, both in games and in practice. The faster the game, the more they flourish. The bigger the game we're in, the better they seem to play. That's who they are."
Their motors are constantly running. That's the only way they know how to play the game.
"We skate and play at 110 percent all the time," Caleb said. "That's how we've always competed, no matter what the sport. I think we were born with that kind of attitude. But there's no doubt that we both like hockey the best."
Their aggressive style perhaps steps from their experience as youth wrestlers in the third, fourth and fifth grades. But after fifth grade, they left wrestling and got involved in hockey.
"They bring a lot of intensity to the ice, whether it's in practice or in games," Valimont said. "They can do it all. They can score goals, they're good on defense, good forecheckers and are good penalty killers. And the good thing is they're together all the time. They're never too far away from each other. Even their lockers are right next to each other."
In their first two years, the twins spent too much time in the penalty box.
"Being our senior year, I know we've both matured a lot on the ice," Ben said. "Coach Valimont kept telling us that he needed us on the ice, not in the box. But we still like the forecheck and grinding things out in the corners."
The Beversdorf brothers not only make their presence known in games, but also in practice.
"We were born with the attitude to compete as hard as we can," Caleb said. "I think all of our teammates would tell you that. They like having us on the team, even though they have to practice against us all the time knowing we're going to bring it."