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September 29, 2023

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Small but powerful

He made a bold prediction last season.

‘People need to be coming to see us,’ said Jake Cepis on Sept. 30, 2007. ‘We have a great team, a great bunch of guys and we’re going to have a hell of a season this year.’

All of that came true for the Falcon hockey team in 2007-08. Cepis, now a sophomore, scored 15 goals and registered 16 assists as his team’s second leading scorer behind Derek Whitmore.

And his team more than doubled its win total from the previous year.

This season, he’s not making any predictions about his production.

‘No one really likes to say anything about that,’ Cepis said, ‘But I would like our team to be better and to be higher up in the standings, where we should be.’

Though slightly more modest as a sophomore, Cepis is poised to be his team’s leading scorer this season in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

‘He is our leading returning scorer, and Jake will be the first one to tell you he wants to improve on those numbers,’ said hockey coach Scott Paluch. ‘He’s the type of player who wants that challenge.

‘He wants to be the offensive leader, and we need him to pick up his production even more.’

At 5 feet 8 inches tall, Cepis was the smallest player among the top 20 CCHA offensive leaders last year, but he more than makes up for a lack of size with his skating quickness.

That speed, however, has likely put the Parma, Ohio native on opponents’ radars as BG’s biggest scoring threat. Paluch said he believes teams will try to match their best lines against Cepis each night.

‘But the important thing for Jacob is not to get too caught up with that, and just stick to what he does well,’ Paluch said.

Cepis received an invite from the Buffalo Sabres to attend a summer camp in late June, along with teammate Nick Eno and former linemate Derek Whitmore. He described the workouts in camp as ‘intense,’ and said players practiced three times per day.

‘A lot of hockey,’ Cepis said. ‘I got pretty tired out with it. A lot of guys like to take time off in the summer, but I like to skate pretty much every day.’

That extra ice time helped Cepis earn a national honor heading into his second college season.

On July 30, named him as a player to watch this year nationally. The same publication named the former Cedar Rapids Roughriders forward as one of the top 20 incoming freshman forwards in the country last season.

But is the publicity merely a preseason distraction for the 20-year-old, or does he feel grateful to be projected among the nation’s best college players?

‘Oh yeah, it’s definitely an honor to be in that, I mean look at the kind of players that are in there,’ Cepis said. ‘But I just have to play how I play, help the team win and that’s about it.’

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