Aberdeen Wings head coach Scott Langer picked up his 700th career victory Saturday, Nov. 25.
The Wings split their weekend series with the Minot Minotauros. Their 4-1 victory Saturday in Minot was a milestone for Langer.
“I think it is a special accolade for sure because it makes you look back at when you started and how far you’ve come,” Langer said.
Langer, the North American Hockey League’s all-time winningest coach, credits those he’s worked with for his success in coaching junior hockey.
“It means a lot to have those people that I’ve built relationships with to have helped with that success,” he said. “Most of them have moved on and now have their own path, which is part of being a head coach. When your former assistant coaches are successful it just reflects on what you were able to do during your time together.”
The Wings dropped the opening game of the series 4-2 to the Minotauros Friday, Nov. 24. Kie Vahakangas and Isak Holmstrom scored the goals for Aberdeen.
“We’ve just been up and down all year so far. We haven’t quite found that groove yet that allows you to win back-to-back games in this division,” Langer said.
Three unanswered goals Saturday in the third period put the game away for the Wings.
Riley Sharun scored his fifth of the year at the 6:50 mark to break a 1-1 tie. Jackson Anderson’s second goal of the season with 3:20 left in the third made it 3-1 Wings. Logan Gravink rounded out the scoring with his ninth goal.
“(Saturday) is a good win to build on,” Langer said. “We have a good group of guys, and our lines are pretty balanced as far as our offensive output. Our defensive side of the puck needs to get better.”
Croix Kochendorfer picked up the win in goal for the Wings stopping 39 of 40 shots.
“Croix and (Adam) Dybal have pretty good numbers in goal, we’ve just had too many games where our offense hasn’t gotten going. Both (the offense and defense) have had good nights here and there, but just not consistent enough,” Langer said
The Wings are now 9-12-1-2 and will host Minot on Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2. Both games are slated to start at 7:15 p.m. at the Odde Ice Center.
Northern State men’s basketball team rolls to two wins
The Northern State men’s basketball team picked up a pair of wins in Wachs Arena to make it three straight victories.
Northern rolled to a 94-65 win over NAIA Peru State College Friday, then took care of Trinity Bible College Saturday in record-setting fashion, cruising to a 116-68 win. The No. 21 Wolves are now 3-4 on the year and 1-0 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Northern set a school record by knocking down 20 three-pointers against TBC.
“Shot selection is a delicate art, you know, especially when you’re a team that takes a lot of threes, because we are designed to take a lot of threes,” Northern State head coach Saul Phillips said. “To balance those out with two-point shots when, say, you have a little drought going, those are important things for us to learn, and at times you learn them on the fly. When you make (three-pointers), though, like we’re capable, it sure makes that balancing act easier.”
Josh Dilling led the way with 25 points during Saturday’s win, including going seven of eight from three-point range. Dilling also led the Wolves with 19 points Friday, going eight for 14 from the floor and three for three from behind the three-point line.
“I think Josh had a kind of ah-ha moment in the second half of our game against Mary after playing absolutely horrible by his own standards in the first half,” Phillips said. “He just settled himself down, righted the ship and carried us in the second half, and with that breeds confidence. His entire career he’s kind of been ‘the other guard,’ and now he’s not the other guard. He’s a dude. His good is plenty good. He doesn’t have to be great every night, and it sure seems when he takes trying to be great out of it, he becomes great.”
The Wolves are currently without starting guard Kailleb Walton-Blanden, who is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
Northern was able to get multiple players off the bench and on the floor during both games. Isaiah Hagen scored 16 points Friday, going seven of 10 from the floor. Tobi Obiora went for 13 points and seven rebounds Saturday against the Lions.
“It was a good chance for us to explore some different looks and get some players out on the court that, honestly, their biggest struggle so far is to get comfortable on the floor. Isaiah, Devin (Brooke), Tobi, these are guys who are going to need top log some minutes for us,” Phillips said.
The Wolves return to action Thursday, Nov. 30 when they host Minnesota State, Moorhead. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Barnett Center.
Defense, rebounding spark fifth straight win for Northern women
The Northern State women’s basketball team scored 29 points combined in the first three quarters against the University Sioux Falls on Saturday at the Barnett Center.
But in the fourth, the Wolves put up 24 to hold on for a 53-49 victory in non-conference action. It was their fifth straight win.
Northern struggled at the start of the contest, going two of 11 from the floor and trailing 15-4 after the first 10 minutes.
“I’m not sure you can print what I was thinking when I saw the scoreboard,” Northern State head coach Paula Krueger said, chuckling. “You know you’re not going to shoot that poorly forever. We just needed to ask, ‘Are you taking the right shot? Are the right players taking the right shot?’ There was no panic, I can say that.”
Sioux Falls forward Kami Wadsworth scored a game-high 16 points however, the Wolves limited her to just one made field goal in the second half.
“I thought we did some very good things (defensively) and, at times, we didn’t,” Krueger said. “Wadsworth had 14 points in the first half against us, but we did a much better job on her in the second. That was certainly a key for us going forward.”
Another was rebounding. Northern owned the glass, out-rebounding Sioux Falls 41-29. Brynn Alfson led the Wolves with 15 boards to go along with 13 points.
“Brynn was possessed, really, is the one way I can describe it. She just owned their glass. At 5-foot-11, she does things no one else wants to and just does them on a consistent basis and you saw it (Saturday). There wasn’t any rebound, it seemed, in the second half where she didn’t at least have her hand on.”
Northern held a 50-49 lead with 1:04 left in the fourth. Rianna Fillipi grabbed a rebound off a missed shot with 56 seconds left and drained a three-pointer at the other end with 26 seconds to go to help seal the win.
“We had made four (three-pointers) the whole game, then we hit three in the fourth,” Krueger said. “‘Rio just seems to hit big shots for us. We didn’t really talk about our shooting at halftime. We just talked about pride and heart and at what point do you say ‘OK, that’s enough.’ (Fillipi) was just one player who took it upon herself to make a play. We had a lot of kids do that (Saturday) for us.”
For a complete box score, visit Sioux Falls vs. Northern State.
Streak snapped at Wisconsin-Parkside
The Wolves winning streak ended with a 71-60 loss at Wisconsin-Parkside on Monday, Nov. 27. Northern is now 5-2 overall and 1-0 in the NSIC.
Early struggles from the floor put the Wolves in a 43-24 deficit at halftime. Parkside sank five of its seven three-pointers in the first half.
Madelyn Bragg was a force in the middle for Northern, scoring a game-high 28 points with eight rebounds. Alayna Benike was the only other Wolf to hit double figures with 13 points.
For a complete box score visit Northern State vs. Parkside.
The Wolves host Minnesota State, Moorhead Thursday at Wachs Arena. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Aberdeen Cougars boys, girls teams open with weekend sweeps
The Aberdeen Cougars boys and girls hockey teams kicked off their 2023 seasons with a pair of sweeps at the Odde Ice Center.
The boys squad used a four-goal opening period to skate to an 8-2 win Saturday over Sioux Center, Iowa. Lance Siefken led the Cougars with two goals and two assists. Goalie Colton Townsend had 14 saves.
The girls also opened with a win, shutting out Sioux Center 5-0. Five different players tallied the goals. Rachel Siefken had a goal and two assists in the win. Chloe Vikander picked up the win in goal, turning back all nine shots she faced.
The boys knocked off the Storm 8-3 on Sunday, Nov. 26. The Cougars trailed 3-2 after the first period but scored five unanswered to get the win. Talen Dutenhoeffer ignited the scoring with a power play goal at of the 4:27 of the second period. Lleyton Kleffman added a second power play goal to make it 4-3 Cougars heading to the third. Townsend got his second win between the pipes, stopping 15 of 18 shots.
The Cougars host Brandon Valley on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3 at 1:30 p.m. at the Odde Ice Center.
The girls skated to their second-straight shutout with a 7-0 win over the Storm Sunday. Kailyn Poppen led the way with two goals and two assists. Alyssa Roehrich added two goals and one assist, with both tallies coming in the first period. Vikander stopped all 10 shots she faced from Sioux Center.
Monday night, the Cougars improved to 3-0 with a 1-0 triumph over Jamestown in North Dakota. Allison Woehl scored the game’s only goal late in the second period. Vikander has yet to allow a goal this season.
Aberdeen has home games Saturday, Dec. 9 at 1:30 p.m. against Mitchell and Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2:30 p.m. against Watertown.