A popular phrase in coach speak is “the game was a lot closer than the score indicated.”
That can be applied to the Aberdeen Cougars boys hockey team as it opened the year with a 6-1 loss to Neepawa, Manitoba, Canada, during the Rooster Classic in Huron. Despite managing only one goal, the Cougars out-shot Neepawa 31-29.
“Our guys played really hard for their first time out for sure,” said Cougars head coach Jon Aldinger. “We put more shots on goal, but (the Neepawa) goalie was really tough. I thought the shots we took were quality shots, we just didn’t get enough traffic in front of the net. There was a couple times in the first period the puck was right there on a rebound, but we didn’t have guys in the right position to get their sticks on them.”
Neepawa opened the scoring in the first period on a blue zone miscue by the Cougars.
“(Neepawa’s) first goal was a short-handed goal,” Aldinger said. “We were a little out of sync early. We had worked on a lot of new stuff before (Friday) night, and some guys were out of position, and that (goal) was the result of an odd-man rush that we shouldn’t have given up.”
The Cougars’ lone goal of the game came off the stick of Rylan Abel with 25 seconds left in the second period.
“Rylan was able to gather the puck down low and score,” Aldinger said. “Again, we just need to get more guys crashing the net when we get in (the opponent’s) zone. We were not a defensive zone team (Friday). Our guys didn’t play on their heels, they created chances, we just need to get a few to go in.”
The Cougars return to action today in the Rooster Classic against Sioux Center. The puck drops at 5 p.m.
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Rooster Classic at Huron
First Period: Scoring: 1, Neepawa, Ben Rainka (Wiley Spiess), 2:23.
Second Period: Scoring: 2, Neepawa, Dillon Birch (Speiss), 11:06, 3, Neepawa, Shane Byram (Cody Lamb), 7:04, 4, Neepawa, Speiss (Rainka), 2:56, 5, Aberdeen, Rylan Abel (Jake Walth), :25.
Third Period: Scoring: 6, Neepawa, Bryan Todkruck (Speiss), :28.
Tag(s): Boys Varsity