Breck senior Beau Courneya is one of the state's leading returning scorers after totaling 23 goals and 33 assists last season. Photo by Tim Kolehmainen, Breakdown Sports Media
Our look at Class 1A continues as we count down the top 20 small-school teams for the 2020-21 season.
2019-20 Record: 14-11-1
Playoffs: Lost 4-2 to Delano in Section 2A semifinals
Seniors lost: 4
Goals for: 93
Goals lost: 28 | Goals returning: 65
Goals against: 83
Goalie minutes lost: 907:00 | Goalie minutes returning: 432:06
Power-play percentage: 27.5
Penalty-kill percentage: 76.8
He’s got the speed. He’s got the shot. He’s got the natural-born rink vision, too. Most noticable of all, Beau Courneya has the hair.
An amazing, vibrant, sensational (pick an adjective, any adjective and insert it here) beyond-shoulder-length head of hair.
Courneya, with his golden locks flowing from his helmet like winter wheat swaying in a prairie breeze, scored 23 goals and added 33 assists last season as Breck’s top scorer and No. 1 candidate for All Hockey Hair stardom.
Of course, it takes a trip to the state tournament to truly gauge your locks against the best, and it’s not outlandish to think Breck — playing in one of the state’s toughest Class 1A sections — might just get there (assuming we have a state tournament to conclude a COVID-19-shortened season).
The Mustangs graduated just five seniors from last season’s team that reached the Section 2A semifinals, losing 4-2 to eventual champion Delano. The good news? Those five players accounted for just six of the team’s 93 goals. The bad? Top goaltender Sean Reiling is one of the departed seniors. More bad — 22-goal scorer Nick Mikan, a sophomore last season, transferred to Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
One of the state’s top returning scorers, Courneya is coming off a solid Upper Midwest High School Elite League season (15 points in 22 games). He’ll no doubt have his fingerprints tattooed on any success enjoyed by the Mustangs. So, too, will Caden Morgan, a freshman sensation as a high-scoring defenseman last season (10 goals, 22 assists).
While Reiling played most of the minutes in goal last season, junior Jack Thomson saw plenty of action, posting a 6-3-0 record and 3.19 goals-against average and is the likely No. 1 starter.
Junior Carter Theissen (6 goals, 10 assists) is another young defenseman oozing with potential. Senior forwards Zach Sinople and Carter Oftedahl each scored seven goals last season and are among the candidates for top-line duty alongside Courneya.
Breck is no longer humming at the level that allowed it to reach seven state tournaments (winning two titles) in eight years from 2008 to 2016. But the Mustangs, who suffered back-to-back losing seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19, appear to be on the rise. Nine of their returning players were freshmen or sophomores last season. Star power has returned in the form of standouts such as Courneya and Morgan.
And then there’s Courneya’s championship-worthy mane.