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Boys' Hockey

Cougars roll past Mitchell on Senior Day

Austin Dabney, of the Aberdeen Cougars (16) goes after the puck in front of an empty net with Ashton Reimnitz, of the Mitchell Marlins (29) during Saturday’s game at the Odde Ice Center. Looking on are the Cougars’ Andrew Woehl (5) and Ian Ahlberg (41) and Marlins’ goalie Drake Jerke (1). Photo by John Davis taken 1/29/2022

A surge that started on Friday night in Huron carried over to Saturday afternoon at the Odde Ice Center.

Fresh off a lopsided win, the Aberdeen Cougars dominated the Mitchell Marlins on the way to an 8-2 boys’ hockey win on Senior Day.

The Cougars scored seven third-period goals on Friday, then came out and produced four goals in the opening period against Mitchell.

“It’s been nice to see the puck movement and the playmaking,” said Cougars coach Jeremey Backous. “Our first line has really been rolling the last couple of games. It’s just nice to see pucks finding the back of the net.”

There was no doubt that the Cougars had a bit of extra motivation hitting the ice on Senior Day.

“That was one of the things that we talked about was playing inspired hockey. Over the course of your career you’re not going to remember many games, but the one you will remember is Senior Day,” Backous said. “So we wanted to make sure we sent the seniors out on a good note. I thought our seniors responded really well today and played a heckuva game.”

Senior captain Kasen Claymore scored three goals and assisted on another. Carson Myhre had two goals and assist as the Cougars scored the first eight goals of the contest. Mason Carrels, Phillip Zens and Ian Ahlberg produced the other goals.

The Cougars have 13 seniors on the team this year, more than double the normal amount. Needless to say, they have left their mark on the program.

“I don’t know the last time we had that many. It’s usually four or five,” Backous said. “It’s nice to see these kids coming through and contributing in the way they have. That’s part of our success this year is just our senior leadership.”

Kasen Claymore, of the Aberdeen Cougars, right, works the puck around Mitchell goalie Drake Jerke, left, to score during Saturday’s game at the Odde Ice Center. Photo by John Davis taken 1/29/2022

One of the seniors, defenseman Chanden Nieman, assisted on a goal against Mitchell.

Nieman is proud to be a part of that senior class on the Cougars.

“They’re a great group of guys,” Nieman said. “I’m glad that’s who I got to spend my four years with growing up through the association, and I wouldn’t want to spend it with anybody else.”

Heading down the home stretch, the Cougars are definitely ramping up their offense. They had 45 shots on goal against the Marlins, coming on the heels of 78 on Friday against Huron.

“That’s what we’ve been talking about is finding lanes to get pucks on net. (Friday) night against Huron I think we probably set a career high with 78 shots on goal,” Backous said. “I don’t know if that’s ever been done before, but it’s fun and when we’re shooting pucks, we’re generating opportunities for rebounds and ultimately goals.”

The seniors have a goal of reaching the state tournament this season, something they haven’t done in their years on the Cougars varsity.

Nieman said the squad will need to keep working hard in order to achieve that goal.

“We just want to stay locked in and focused, and make sure we have good practices every week,” Nieman said. “Every day has to be a good one.”

Mitchell Marlins 0 0 2 – 2

Aberdeen Cougars 4 2 2 – 8

First Period: 1, AC, Mason Carrels (Jacob Scheel, Kasen Claymore), 8:40; 2, AC, Carson Myhre (unassisted), 7:31; 3, AC, Myhre (Phillip Zens), 4:40; 4, AC, Zens (Myhre, Chanden Nieman), 4:10.

Second Period: 5, AC, Ian Ahlberg (Jadon Jorgenson), 6:54; 6, AC, Claymore (Carrels, Jaxon Danielson), 4:09.

Third Period: 7, Claymore (Andrew Coughlin), 12:50; 8, Claymore (unassisted), 12:05; 9, M, Kaden Contreras (William Elfstrand), 11:31; 10, M, Elfstrand (unassisted), 1:52.

Shots on Goal: Mitchell Marlins 13; Aberdeen Cougars 45.

Goalies: Mitchell Marlins, Drake Jerke (37 saves); Aberdeen Cougars, Carson Hundstad (11 saves).

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