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Boys' Hockey

Cougars complete weekend sweep of Brandon Valley

Brady Huff, of the Aberdeen Cougars, center, skates with the puck as Brandon Valley’s Caleb Poncelet defends from behind during Saturday’s game at the Odde Ice Center. Huff had a pair of assists in a victory over Brandon Valley on Sunday. Photo by John Davis taken 2/4/2023

The Aberdeen Cougars saved their best for last Sunday afternoon at the Odde Ice Center.

The Cougars scored three goals in the final 10 minutes to record a 7-4 boys’ hockey victory to complete a weekend sweep over the Brandon Valley Ice Cats. The Cougars have now won six games in a row.

“It seems like the third period for us, especially the last 10 minutes, we actually played with some pace and intensity,” said Cougars coach Jeremey Backous. “We were buzzing the offensive zone for a while, it’s just we have to figure out a way to be able to bring that sort of effort from the initial puck drop and we did not have that today.”

Devon Fischbach broke a 4-4 tie on a goal with 9:41 remaining and then added an insurance goal less than five minutes later. Micah Kranzler capped the surge win a goal with 2:37 left for the final margin of difference.

“Towards the end of the game, the boys starting picking it up,” said Cougars captain Brady Huff. “We have a couple of guys that can score goals and they found the back of the net.”

The Cougars, who trailed 3-2 and 4-3 at various stages of the second period, were in need of a play, and Fischbach found a way to make some.

“Devon Fischbach really stepped up. We were not playing well as a team, I didn’t think,” Backous said. “Devon Fischbach really stepped up and made some key plays for us and put the puck in the net when we really needed it. I think after his second or third one, the team kind of rallied around it and then we started to play some hockey. It’s nice to have guys take it upon themselves and take the initiative and make some plays. That’s what we need.”

Devon Fischbach, of the Aberdeen Cougars, right, moves with the puck as Carson Walters, of the Huron All Stars, center, closes in on defense during a game earlier this season at the Odde Ice Center. Fischbach had three goals in a win over Brandon Valley on Sunday. Photo by John Davis taken 1/20/2023

Fischbach also had a goal in the opening period to start his hat trick.

The Cougars also received goals from Lance Siefken, Quincy Madsen and Austin Dabney.

Huff finished with a pair of assists and always seemed be in the center of the action.

“I try to do what I can,” Huff said. “My linemates are the goal scorers, so I try to feed them as much as I can.”

While the Cougars outshot the Ice Cats 40-25, Backous said his team needs to play solid from start to finish. Brandon Valley was able to take advantage of some errant passes, one of which led directly to a goal.

“There’s a lot of things that go into acquiring the puck,” Backous said. “It’s shoulder checking and doing the little things to put a couple of passes together to make a play. We just were not sharp.”

Siefken and Madsen both added three assists to go along with their goals, while Kranzler also had a pair of assists.

“Again, we had some nice individual efforts,” Backous said. “We’re not where I’d like us to be at this point as far as a collective team effort, but again we’re working to get better every day and we still have a few weeks to figure it out before tournament play.”

The Cougars improved to 12-7-1 on the season and extended their winning streak, which started last weekend on the way to winning a tournament in Grand Forks, N.D.

“It definitely does boost our confidence a little bit,” Huff said of winning the championship of that event.

Aberdeen will head on the road for games at Brookings on Saturday and Pierre on Sunday.

Backous would like to see more complete games in the future, but is happy the streak is still intact.

“We’ll take it,” Backous said following Sunday’s contest. “A win is a win even when it’s not as pretty as you would like it to be.”

Aberdeen Cougars 2 2 3 – 7

Brandon Valley Ice Cats 1 3 0 – 4

First Period: 1, AC, Lance Siefken (Micah Kranzler, Quincy Madsen), 10:44; 2, BV, Isaac Johnson (Gavin Stone), 10:08; 3, AC, Devon Fischbach (Madsen), 4:48.

Second Period: 4, BV, Stone (Brenden Mofle), 15:19; 5, BV, Maxwell Peters; 6, AC, Madsen (Kranzler, Siefken), 8:37; 7, BV, Lucas Fogarty (Peters), 5:59; 8, AC, Austin Dabney (Brady Huff, Fischbach), 2:56.

Third Period: 9, AC, Fischbach (Jaxon Danielson), 9:41; 10, AC, Fischbach (Huff, Dabney), 5:00; 11, AC, Kranzler (Madsen, Siefken), 2:37.

Shots on Goal: Aberdeen Cougars 40; Brandon Valley Ice Cats 25.

Goalies: Aberdeen Cougars, Colton Townsend (21 saves); Brandon Valley Ice Cats, Treyson Boesch (33 saves).

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