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Athlete of the Week: Feiock making big saves for Cougars

By By Erin Ballard 01/10/2019, 12:45pm CST

Matt Feiock

Courtesy photo

The Feiock File

Family: Parents Chris and Tami; sister Brooklyn, 18.

Other sports: Baseball and football.

Toughest opponent: Xavier Erickson from Huron.

Future: Play hockey his senior year and go to college to study communications.

When Matt Feiock got in front of the goal at the Mite level for the Aberdeen Cougars boys hockey team almost a decade ago, he might have been trying to take a breather from skating.

But one round of tending net as an 8-year-old and the now-varsity goalkeeper was hooked.

“I was not a fan of all the skating as a younger player, so I thought it would be a better fit for me,” Feiock admitted with a laugh. “I happened to really like it, and stuff really took off from there.”

Feiock took to goalkeeping quickly, but his success this season is the product of many hours on and off the ice, studying form and footwork, trying to improve his game. With a stellar start for the Cougars and 31 shots saved in their most recent game Sunday, Feiock is the American News Athlete of the Week.

“I think the first thing I can look at with Matt is his work ethic. He spends the time,” Cougars head coach Jon Aldinger said. “He watches a lot of film on himself. He does all the extra stuff to get himself better.”

Feiock, a junior, is determined for many reasons, but mostly it’s for his teammates.

“I’ve been putting in a lot of work and I’m trying to be the best I can be for my team,” he said. “We’re doing a whole solid effort as a team, and that’s really who I’m trying to impress. The boys.”

Leadership in the locker room is something he hopes to get better at this year, but Aldinger said Feiock is already very vocal on the ice. And it’s to everyone’s benefit.

“After the game, everybody on that bench goes right to the goalie. They know when a goalie keeps you in a game, when a goalie wins you a game and when a goalie’s having fun out there,” Aldinger said. “And Matt has a lot of enthusiasm … He brings a lot of confidence. He’s been playing phenomenal, and I think the boys are feeding off that, too.”

For Feiock, there’s really not much off time. Even the other sports he plays are veiled training for the ice.

“In baseball, I play catcher, so getting all those low balls in the dirt helps me get used to getting down. I’m kind of always trying to block stuff,” he said, laughing.

Despite hours of devotion to hockey, some of his talent comes down to good genes, thanks in part to his dad, who played pond hockey.

“He’s got a natural talent to be back there. He can move his body in ways and recover and he’s not scared to stand in front of some hard shots,” Aldinger said of the younger Feiock. “He faces a few shots during games and is always coming up with big saves.”

Feiock has one more season after this one to make his mark on Cougars hockey program. But of all the legacies he could leave, growing the sport and getting more kids involved is what he’d like most.

“If younger players are thinking about (it), I’d just encourage them to go for it. It’s a really great program for kids,” he said. “I really enjoy it, my friends really enjoy it. If they have doubts, they should just do it. Come to tryouts.”

“He’s a special guy. I’ve been spoiled having him as a goalie. I think he’s just going to continue getting better,” Aldinger said. “Goalies are a special breed, and there’s not going to be another one like him, that’s for sure.”

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