Cougars enter holiday break on six-game winning streak
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The Mankato East/Loyola boys’ hockey team is onto avenge the pandemic season with an impressive 7-3 record at the holiday break.
“There’s been lots of players that have helped out that effort. I feel like every time we get a new line on the ice, that line is stepping up in a way. I think our stats show our balanced scoring, we have three or four lines that are scoring and I think our defensive core has as much scoring as our three forward lines do,” Cougars head coach Adam Fries said.
The Cougars are one of the better teams in Class A at spreading the wealth. Through 10 games this season, 11 players have recorded at least three goals and 12 have 5-plus points. Which is helping outscore opponents 49-23.
“I’m seeing a lot less pucks and they’re all from the outside which is not a great scoring opportunity,” East senior goaltender Caelin Brueske said.
Mankato East is consistently putting together winning records. In the previous four seasons, the program made two state-tournament appearances. Last year’s squad drew attention as a state-championship caliber team, but couldn’t prove it with COVID-19 derailing East’s postseason effort.
“Hopefully we’re going to make another big state run, that’s everyone’s goal and we’re just working towards that and playing for those seniors that didn’t get to play in their last game last year and that’s a really big part of it,” East senior left winger Parker Anthony said.
“They want to make their own name and they want to continue with the success that we’ve had and keep building he program up where they’re at and I think so far. We’ve done a really good job, there’s sometimes where we’re still learning, but we don’t want to be playing our best hockey today anyways, we want to wait til March,” Fries added.
The Cougars opened their 2021-22 itinerary with losses to Class AA’s Champlin Park and Woodbury, but have since gone 7-1, boasting a physical defense-first mentality.
“For us I think that was kind of a good benchmark to see how we stood up against those tougher teams,” Brueske said.
Once the holiday break concludes, Mankato East will embark of the second half of the schedule, starting at Hutchinson Jan. 4.
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