With the 2020-21 season still months out, it’s time to take a look at teams from all over the State of Hockey and examine what happened this past season and what’s ahead. The next team we’re breaking down is Lakeville…
With the 2020-21 season still months out, it’s time to take a look at teams from all over the State of Hockey and examine what happened this past season and what’s ahead. The next team we’re breaking down is Lakeville South.
How last season went
Heading into the season, the Cougars had some star power along the blue line. Those stars showed up. But so did the offense as Lakeville South averaged 4.32 goals per game.
The Cougars jumped out of the gate well with seven wins in their first eight games. That success continued both in and out of the South Suburban Conference as they sported wins against the likes of Holy Family, Burnsville, Lakeville North, Farmington, Duluth East and Elk River.
That success led Lakeville South to an 18-7 regular season record along with a South Suburban Conference championship.
The Cougars eventually earned the No. 1 seed in the Section 1AA tournament. Lakeville South cruised through the first two rounds, outsourcing its opponent 14-1. Then, things got a bit tougher in the section final against Hastings. The game eventually went to overtime and the Cougars prevailed 3-2 to head back to the Class 2A state tournament.
Lakeville South came into St. Paul as an underdog. The unseeded Cougars faced Eden Prairie in the quarterfinals. That vaunted Lakeville South offense was silent during the tournament. Following a 4-0 loss in the quarterfinals, the Cougars were shutout once again in consolation play as Maple Grove won 3-0.
Who’s back and who’s gone
Among players who will be missed, look no further than Zack Oelrich. He leaves behind a strong legacy, including a 43-point senior season (17 goals, 26 assists).
As for returners, there is so much to like. As mentioned, Lakeville South’s defense is widely known around the state. That starts with Griffin Ludtke. The future Omaha Maverick (9G, 16A) is poised to return next season and will surely be someone to watch in the race for the 2021 Mr. Hockey Award.
Ludtke may end up competing for that award with a teammate. Cade Ahrenholz (18G, 15A) will also have some say in that race, especially after tallying eight game-winning goals last season.
There are other key returners to mention. Jack Novak (5G, 26A) will likely be a key distributor.
In net, the squad’s two main netminders are set to return. Ethan Dahlmeir posted a .920 save percentage in eight games. The goaltender to certainly watch will be Cody Ticen. He posted a 1.99 goals against average and .921 save percentage in 22 games. He’s an early candidate for the 2021 Frank Brimsek award.
What to expect next season
Lakeville South continues to make gradual improvements. This next season should be no different. With the amount of returning experience, it’s a golden chance for the Cougars to finally break into the upper echelon of Class 2A. Based on the last two seasons, the goal is to avoid Eden Prairie in the quarterfinals. That might help Lakeville South in its dreams of a state championship.