The Little Falls Flyers boys' hockey team is enjoying unprecedented success, thanks in large part to its quiet captain.
Eric Rakow registered three assists in a 7-0 victory over Sartell Feb. 6. The senior also notched three assists in a 7-5 victory over Brainerd, only the second time the Flyers have beaten Brainerd.
"In both the Brainerd and Sartell games he was getting the puck and finding the open people," said Flyers coach Tony Couture. "He's got great vision on the ice.
"Most of the assists he got were just finding the open person and threading the pass to them."
Rakow has moved from center to left wing, teaming with Bo Corrow and Peter Herman to form a high-scoring first line.
As a three-year starter, Rakow has amassed impressive numbers. This season he has 16 goals and 35 points. As a junior he was the Flyers' second-leading scorer with 19 goals and 52 points. He had four goals and 20 points as a sophomore.
In a 3-0 victory over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Rakow earned his 100th and 101st career points with an assist and a goal Feb. 1.
"It was actually real exciting for me," said Rakow. "For me, looking up to the guys that were ahead of me, they all reached 100 in four years except Mario (Filippi). I did it in three years so it was a real nice accomplishment for me."
Rakow is fifth on the Little Falls all-time scoring list with 107 points. He is 10 assists away from the school record held by Filippi. Rakow owns the single-season assist record with 33.
"That's kind of my strong point," said Rakow. "I like getting good passes off and setting up my teammates for the goal."
Rakow has helped the Flyers to a 16-8 record, the most victories in school history, surpassing the previous mark of 13-11-1 in 1998-99.
"(Rakow) was our assistant captain last year and he's the captain this year," said Couture. "One thing that we did at the beginning of the year is we only picked one captain for the first time in a long time. We felt strongly that he was our leader.
"Sometimes he's not the most vocal person in the world. He leads by example on the ice. He gets them going in the locker room."
Rakow plans on playing Junior hockey next season but he's enjoying this year.
"As seniors, we've stepped up our game and the younger guys have come in and stepped up their game," said Rakow.
"We're working as a team," he added. "We have a lot of team unity. We do a lot of things together as a team outside of practice. That shows on the ice."
At 5 foot 10, 170 pounds, Rakow uses his head more than his body during a game. Couture said Rakow is one of the smarter players on the ice, which helps him get points and set up teammates.
"His biggest attribute is he sees the ice well," Couture said. "He's a playmaker. That goes hand-in-hand with all the assists he's had.
"He's out there for all of our special teams and he's done a real nice job handling that. He seems to get better as the game goes on."
Other notable performances:
Basketball -- Jeremy Wiczek of Pequot Lakes had 15 points and 13 rebounds in a victory over Park Rapids.
Pierz's Dan Saehr scored 28 points in a victory over Rockford, 24 in a win over Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa and 14 in a victory over Mora.
Aitkin's Brian Hills accumulated 17 points, five assists and four steals in a victory over East Central.
Pillager's Lee Roberts had 20 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists against Pine River-Backus and 21 points, 5 assists and four steals against Upsala.
Hockey -- Crosby-Ironton/Aitkin's Dustin Heins had a goal and two assists in a 5-0 victory over Pequot Lakes.
Aaron Jorgensen of Little Falls stopped 12 shots in a rout of Sartell and made 21 saves in a victory over Wadena-Deer Creek.
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