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Aberdeen Cougars boys fight hard in loss to Sioux Falls

By By Cuyler Meade cmeade@aberdeennews.com, 12/17/18, 12:15PM CST

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Cougars boys Chandler

Aberdeen Cougars boys player Tommy Chandler fires a shot during the first period of Sunday’s game at the Odde Ice Center against Sioux Falls. Chandler is marked by Sioux Falls defender Payton Stahnke. American News photo by Cuyler Meade

 

The Aberdeen Cougars boys team didn’t win Sunday evening at the Odde Ice Center, but the Cougars still came away from their 4-1 loss to Sioux Falls with an increased measure of confidence in their capacity in this, a step-forward year for the oft-embattled club.

“Sioux Falls is the number one team in the state and it’s going to be tough to beat them,” Cougars head coach Jon Aldinger said after the game. “Us playing a solid game, these boys know they can beat anybody in the state now.”

While the Cougars allowed a couple of somewhat flukey goals, a bounce or two the other way would have had them in a very different position late in the contest considering the fight they displayed for all three periods. A score in the final minute of the first put Sioux Falls up for good, and the Flyers tacked on one each in the second and third period. Tommy Chandler scored the lone goal for the Cougars, at the time an equalizer at one apiece in the first period.

Chandler’s goal, a bouncer off the blocker of the Sioux Falls goalie that ricocheted high over the goalie’s head and across the goal line, was, in his words, the luckiest goal of his life. But it was indicative of a new, higher-energy, more aggressive mentality on the part of Chandler and his teammates, who have been putting themselves in position to benefit from good luck this season in ways they have not in years past.

“It’s a team thing, it’s a better team bond than we had before,” Chandler said. “Good group of guys, we’re all in the same locker room.”

Chandler’s line mates concurred.

“We have a lot more fun at practice,” said Jared Everson. “We do more drills that we want to do, things we really need to work on, and we split up where it’s just varsity practices so we’re not with people we don’t play with. More chemistry and it’s more fun.”

Jake Wolth confirmed what his coach has been saying, too.

“We definitely have stronger senior leadership,” Wolth said.

Any disappointment following the contest was probably a good sign, actually, as it was evidence the team expects more out of itself this season than they have before.

“We didn’t play bad hockey with them. We think we can get some confidence,” Aldinger said.

The Cougars were a little sluggish in the second period, surrendering 23 shots compared to 10 in the first and just six in the third.

The Cougars fall to 1-4 on the season. Next up in terms of state games is a Jan. 6 game at the Odde with Brookings. An out-of-state tournament will come in the meantime in Moorhead, Minn.

Follow @CuylerMeade_aan on Twitter.

Sioux Falls 2-1-1 4 Aberdeen Cougars 1-0-0 1

First period

SF, Nathan Fanning (Braden Malwitz), 2:10.

AC, Thomas Chandler (Caleb Kranzler), 7:48

SF, Carter Tobin (U), 16:25.

Second period

SF, Cole Teigen (Nathan Moon), 14:54.

Third period

SF, Fanning (U), 4:47.

Goalies: SF Fred Roufs, 20 saves; AC, Caden Frericks, Matthew Feiock 35 saves combined