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Boys' Hockey

Cougars boys looking to build on last year’s success

Jacob Scheel, of the Aberdeen Cougars, right, turns with the puck as Jorgen Kouri, of the Sioux Falls Flyers, left, closes in on defense during a game last season at the Odde Ice Center. Scheel is one of the team's leading returning scorers this year. Photo by John Davis taken 2/27/2022

The personnel may look a bit different this season, but the goals will remain much the same for the Aberdeen Cougars boys’ hockey team.

The Cougars, who open their season with three straight home games this season beginning with Mitchell Friday night at the Odde Ice Center, finished fifth at last year’s state tournament. While there are some holes to fill, there are players ready to do that.

“Looking at our roster and just looking at the kids, I see the team being very comparable to what we were last year, with even a chance to improve on our positioning in the state,” said Cougars coach Jeremey Backous.

Senior Jacob Scheel will help to power the offense, while Jadon Jorgenson will spearhead the defense.

“He was one of our leading point scorers last year,” Backous said of Scheel. “Just looking for him to do some good things this year. On the blue line, Jadon Jorgenson will be anchoring our defensive corp.”

Jaxon Danielson and Brady Huff are also expected to make major contributions. Both were members of the Team South Dakota U16 squad this past year.

“Jaxon is only a freshman but is going to bring a lot of skill and physicality to the blue line for us this year. Just having a year under his belt, I thought as an eighth-grader last year he adjusted to the pace of the game and the physicality really well,” Backous said. “Over the summer, he’s filled out some more. He’s looked really good this fall.”

Backous noted that Huff has impressed in some friendly games so far this fall also.

“He’s a kid that we’re going to be looking at for some point production out of,” Backous said. “We were commenting in some of our friendlies, the kid can just shoot the puck. It’s just a lightning-quick release. A couple of the goalies didn’t even move until it was coming out of the net already. Coaches, we were looking at each other, like, ‘Wow where did that come from?’ but we’re happy to see it.”

The Cougars will also rely on Andrew Woehl and Ethan Fergel to help set the tone for the squad with their physicality.

“Both are seniors that we’re going to be leaning on for their aggressive style of play,” Backous said. “Both bring a blue collar work ethic every shift.”

Additional help will come from players who are moving up from the junior varsity team. They include Aiden Posthumus, Devon Fischbach, Lance Siefken and Micah Kranzler.

Jacob Dabney will be moving from forward to defense this season, while Sam Casper and Colton Townsend will mind the net.

Jadon Jorgenson, of the Aberdeen Cougars, center, moves with the puck as Landon DeJong, of the Sioux Center Storm (9) gets back on defense during a game last season at the Odde Ice Center. Jorgenson will once again be a defensive leader for the Cougars this year. Photo by John Davis taken 2/12/2022

The Cougars lost both Carson Myhre and Carson Hundstad to the Sioux Falls Power 15 team, which will definitely have an impact.

“We’re going to have to manufacture some goals,” Backous said. “Carson was our leading goal scorer last year with 20, but we certainly have kids that can do that.”

Backous said that the team will have to endure a bit of a learning curve at the beginning of the season, but that he expects the Cougars to be a much stronger squad for the stretch run once they get adjusted to the pace and physicality of play.

As a result, there is plenty of optimism surrounding the Cougars as they gear up to make a run at the state tournament this winter, a goal that was accomplished by last year’s seniors.

“That’s the thing for these seniors too, is everybody wants to finish their season at the state tournament,” Backous said. ” It’s going to take a lot of effort day in and day out, but we certainly have the talent and the ability to get there. It’s a matter of executing on a daily basis.”

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