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Jamestown edges Cougars for girls’ hockey win

Kailyn Poppen, of the Aberdeen Cougar girls varsity, left, takes a shot on goal past Jamestown’s Peighton Walker, right, during Monday night’s game at the Odde Ice Center. Photo by John Davis taken 11/28/2022

The result was not what the Aberdeen Cougars wanted, but the pace was exactly what they were looking for Monday night at the Odde Ice Center.

In a game that was fast and furious from the opening puck drop, Jamestown took advantage of its scoring opportunities to secure a 3-1 girls’ hockey victory. The Blue Jays were able to match Aberdeen stride for stride throughout the non-league contest.

“That’s the reason you play these teams, but I think even the speed of tonight’s game was better than Saturday,” said Cougars coach Rob Weinmeister of a win over Rushmore. “This is the speed that we need to play every weekend. If we play like this, we’ll be just fine.”

The Cougars, who feature three even lines, want to push the pace every chance they get. While they suffered their first setback on the young season, they were happy to skate at maximum speed.

“We’ve been waiting to play like this, because it will prepare us for the better teams like Sioux Falls and Brookings and Mitchell,” said Cougars captain Kailyn Poppen. “It was definitely a big step up and it really got us in better shape than we were before.”

Despite playing their third game in three days, Poppen said the Cougars were charged up and ready to hit the ice.

“We had a really good energy before the game,” Poppen said, “so the adrenaline was rushing through our bodies and helped us keep going throughout the game.”

Jamestown had the only goal in the first two periods, scoring five and half minutes into the contest.

The Blue Jays opened a two-goal lead early in the third, before Alyssa Roehrich scored on an assist from Poppen to cut the deficit in half with just over nine minutes remaining.

However, Aberdeen was unable to produce a game-tying goal and Jamestown added an insurance goal with 3:32 left for the final margin of difference.

The Cougars outshot Jamestown 37-22, but could not make much of a dent against Blue Jays goalie Olivia Sorlie.

“We had lots of good looks,” Weinmeister said. “Even (watching) from the bench there, it’s like we were just inches off on a few shots. We put it right into her pad when she was over there. We had her stretched out, but she had her pad there. She played a great game for them.”

Madeline Sandvig, left and Madalynn Witte, top right, with the Aberdeen Cougar girls varsity, try to get to the puck as it is covered by Jamestown goalie Olivia Sorlie, bottom right, during Monday night’s game at the Odde Ice Center. In on the play for Jamestown is Peighton Walker, second from the left. Photo by John Davis taken 11/28/2022

The game provided a valuable learning experience for the Cougars, who scored 12 goals in two previous games heading into the contest.

“Our coach Rob always says adversity defines character, so we go based off of that,” Poppen said, “and we try to work harder and communicate better when we’re down, instead of just getting down on ourselves and our teammates.”

Jamestown also featured the type of speed that forced Aberdeen to make a few adjustments throughout the contest.

“They were a fast team,” Weinmeister said. “We talked about it between one of the periods: Ladies you have to stop and change directions. You have to go. There’s no spinning around, because if you spin around, you’re behind already.”

The Cougars play at Huron on Friday before hosting Sioux Falls on Saturday afternoon at the Odde Ice Center. They will take some momentum into the weekend despite the setback to Jamestown.

“I told the girls even though we lost the game I am so happy because of how hard they played. We were communicating,” Weinmeister said. “Because that team was so fast, we had to pass the puck more and we were doing that and we were taking short shifts, and we were doing all the things that we need to do, that we preach, so I was happy with the result.”

Jamestown 1 0 2 – 3

Aberdeen Cougars 0 0 1 – 1

First Period: 1, J, Bernadette Belzer, 11:30.

Second Period: No scoring.

Third Period: 2, J, Ellie Krueger (Belzer), 16:42; 3, AC, Alyssa Roehrich (Kailyn Poppen), 9:18; 4, J, Brooke Dietrich, 3:52.

Shots on Goal: Jamestown 21; Aberdeen Cougars 37.

Goalies: Jamestown, Olivia Sorlie (36 saves); Aberdeen Cougars, Chloe Vikander (18 saves).

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