Male Area Athlete of Week: Filippi providing offense for Flyers
Matt Filippi leads Little Falls in scoring.
Matt Filippi keeps getting better and better.
The Little Falls sophomore is in his third year playing varsity for the Flyers and is growing into a reliable scorer.
In the Flyers’ first six games, Filippi leads the team in goals with eight. He scored in five of the first six games, including three two-goal games.
His latest two-goal game came against Willmar last week in a 6-0 Flyers win. Filippi also tallied a goal in a 3-3 tie to Alexandria.
“I just give credit to my teammates,” Filippi said. “They were there for me. A lot of those plays were created by my team and I was just there at the right spot. It was just cool and really fun.”
Initially, Filippi thought he had a hat trick against Willmar, but after the game, it was deemed one of his goals was tipped in by a teammate so he got credited with an assist.
“It was definitely something in the back of my mind,” Filippi said of the possible hat trick. “I just try to play my game and work with my teammates.”
Filippi has played varsity for Little Falls since the eighth grade. Flyers head coach Tony Couture said he’s shown big improvements from last year.
“We brought him up very early in our program,” Couture said. “He had a very good eighth-grade year and then struggled a little bit last year. Coming into the season with all this COVID-19 stuff, he decided to hit the weight room pretty hard. So coming into the season, he felt very strong and probably had a lot more confidence in his ability and play.”
Filippi plays on the Flyers’ first line and is expected to put pucks in the net on a nightly basis.
“We need him to do that for us because we do not have a lot of scorers on our team,” Couture said. “You don’t see too often that your sophomore is going to propel you as one of the guys who is scoring.”
Filippi doesn’t like focusing on himself though.
“Our team is really trying to focus on the team aspect and not worry about who the top scorer is,” Filippi said. “We just try and get a team victory.”
One of those teammates who provide support is goalie Dane Couture.
“It’s obviously great that we have a goalie that we can trust and that we do a lot of extra things because we got him back there,” Filippi said.
On the first line, Filippi has gelled well with senior forward Nick Stevens. Stevens has tallied four goals and seven assists in six games.
“He and Nick Stevens have played on a line since the beginning,” Tony Couture said. “They kind of gel together and feed off each other. Between those two they have been on that first line for us.”
The Alexandria game was important for both teams for section seedings and it’s possible the two will match up again in the Section 6-1A playoffs.
“It was a big game and we really wanted that game,” Filippi said. “It’s unfortunate that it ended in a tie. It’s really fun to get a goal in a game that fun.”
Tony Couture said Filippi is a quiet kid, who rarely talks, but is still very coachable.
“He is a hard worker in practice,” Tony Couture said. “If we have 20 Matt Filippis we would be better off overall. Good character, easy to coach and a good teammate. He comes from a long line of great athletes that came out of Little Falls.”
The Flyers’ success has them ranked No. 4 in the Class 1A according to Let’s Play Hockey. Filippi hopes his team can make it to state.
“We got a lot of guys with a lot of skill and a lot of players that can do a lot with the puck,” Filippi said. “We are hoping that we can connect and have that bond that we can take to the end.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Jonah Prokott, Pierz, scored 21 points including his 1,000th point against Albany.
Luke Kush, Little Falls, scored 26 points against Milaca.
Brandon Greenwaldt, Verndale, scored 23 points against Wadena-Deer Creek.
Dietrich Winegarner, Crosby-Ironton, scored 23 points and 11 rebounds against Staples-Motley and scored 21 points against Detroit Lakes.
Champ Howard, Pine River-Backus, scored 22 points against Nevis.
Carsen Turk, Crosby-Ironton, scored 30 points against Detroit Lakes.
Hunter Nissen, Aitkin, scored 31 points against Staples-Motley.
Hockey: Caiden Kjelstrom, Northern Lakes, scored two goals and tallied one assist against Mora.
Wrestling: John Paul Fitzpatrick, Crosby-Ironton, tallied four pins last week.
School: Little Falls
Highlights: He recorded two goals and an assist against Willmar and recorded a goal against Alexandria.