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'Jacks sputter, then steamroll

Two wins found in three-game homestand

The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys hockey team was busy this past week with three home games that included a pair of wins on Friday and Tuesday. On Thursday, the 'Jacks fell 3-2 to Eagan. On Friday, the Lumberjacks fought from behind to beat Holy Angels in overtime 4-3 and on Tuesday they notched an easy win over Duluth Marshall.

In their Thursday loss to Eagan, the Lumberjacks picked up the first goal of the game when Kyle Siiter scored just 1:52 into the contest on an assist from Brayden Tyman. Unfortunately the Wildcats bounced back to tie the game with just 52 seconds remaining in the first period. Even more unfortunate for CEC was the fact they had a strong shots on goal advantage in the first period, only to have Eagan dominate the second period by putting two goals on the board and taking a 3-1 edge entering the final period.

"They made a big push about halfway through the first period and they carried that momentum into the second period," CEC coach Shea Walters said. "They started taking the body and we were not able to match them. We had several grade A opportunities that we did not convert and that could have opened the game up for us."

CEC captain Jake Huhta was able to pull the 'Jacks to within 3-2 at the 15:55 mark, but that was the only goal of the period.

Jacob Walsh made 27 saves on 31 shots for CEC while Derek Manzella finished with 37 saves on 39 shots for Eagan.

Friday night the 'Jacks downed Holy Angels 3-2 in overtime after falling behind 2-0.

The first period was scoreless, but the Lumberjacks put on relentless pressure in the offensive zone and outshot the Stars 14-5, but had nothing to show for their efforts on the scoreboard.

"We had a great game from the drop of the puck to the end of the game," Walters said. "I was very happy with the effort, discipline and style of play we were playing with."

The Stars turned the tables on CEC in the second period with a pair of power play goals at 6:34 and 11:55. The first was scored just 20 seconds into a Lumberjacks penalty and the second goal was scored a little over a minute into the power play, making it 2-0 after two periods.

CEC got on the board at 4:33 of the third period on the power play when Christian Galatz fired a one-timer up over goalie Matt Syverson's outstretched glove. The rocket beat Syverson before he had much of a chance to react.

"Galatz's goal was a perfect one-timer," Walters said. "When he got the puck, he wanted to shoot the thing through the net. He was going to make sure it gets there."

Still trailing 2-1, and with a player in the penalty box, Aaron Moore decided to take the game over as he split the defense and shelved a shorthanded goal unassisted to tie the game at 2-2.

"Moore's goal was just a standard Aaron Moore goal," mentioned Walters. "He outworked and never gave up on the play. He has done that all year and to tie the game with a shorthanded goal for us was huge."

CEC ended the game when Huhta got the puck back to Kaden Crane at the left point and Crane blasted a shot towards the net that was eventually tipped by Siiter, setting off a 'Jacks celebration.

"The game winner for Siiter was very fitting," Walters said. "Even though we put almost 50 shots on their net, their goalie was able to see a lot of them without having traffic in front. It was a great play. Once the puck got to the point, everyone busted to the net to get in front and Siiter got a great tip on it. He's been playing great for us lately and is solidifying himself as a contributor offensively as well as an energy guy."

On Tuesday night, the Lumberjacks dispatched Duluth Marshall by a score of 8-0 in their third consecutive home game in less than a week. CEC scored four first period goals and four more in the third to claim the win.

Galatz scored the first goal of the game at 5:03 of the first period on an unassisted attempt. That was followed by a pair of Aaron Moore goals and finally a power-play goal by Cole Ketola before the first period ended. The 'Jacks outshot the Hilltoppers 17-4 after one period.

Marshall goalie Sam Anderson managed to stonewall the Lumberjacks in the second period despite his team being outshot 25-5 in the second stanza.

The Lumberjacks bounced back with a vengeance in the third period when they scored four more times. At 1:57 of the third period it was Cade Anderson scoring. Less than two minutes later Jaxton Ochis scored to make it 6-0. Anderson added his second goal of the game at 6:59 of the final period and then Karson Patten punched home a goal at 8:14 to end the scoring. The goals by Ochis and Patten were their first of the season.

For the game, the Lumberjacks outshot the Hilltoppers 62-10 as CEC improved its record to 8-5-1.

The team faces former Lumberjack Mason Langenbrunner at the Eden Prairie Community Center tonight at 7 p.m.

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