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MLA bounced in play-in game

Moose Lake Area was knocked out of the Section 7A boys hockey tournament Saturday afternoon in International Falls. A wild first period, which saw both teams pounding shots on net, eventually spelled trouble for the Rebels, who fell behind early and were never able to rebound in an 8-4 loss.

“We had a real good first half of the first period,” said Rebels head coach Chris Gamst.

Unfortunately for MLA, they were unable to score in the first period despite putting 17 shots on net. Even more unfortunate was that the Broncos pounded 20 shots on Rebels goalie Eli Gilbertson in the first period, of which four ended up in the back of the net, giving the Falls a 4-0 edge after the opening period of play.

“That’s as many shots as we’ve had in a period in a long time,” Gamst said.

Just 3:22 into the second period, Gavin Gamst cut the Broncos’ lead to 4-1 when he scored on a power play unassisted. The Broncos scored a shorthanded goal and then added two more tallies to take a 7-1 lead entering the final period.

“I give the guys credit, because even down 7-1 [they] didn’t quit,” Gamst said. “The guys were confident going in, but we didn’t get the bounces. It was one of those games that the other team went hard to the net, and they have some guys who can shoot.”

Trailing 7-1, the Rebels scored at 2:18 and 3:15 on goals from Peyton Nordstrom with assists from Jaxsyn Schmidt and Easton Granfors, and then it was an unassisted goal by Dalton Slama cutting the lead to 7-3.

International Falls answered with a goal at 4:47. Slama closed out the scoring for the Rebels with Henry Wyandt adding the assist, making the final 8-4.

Gilbertson made 42 saves on 50 shots while the Rebels put 32 shots on Bronco goalie Kane Thompson.

MLA will return a solid nucleus of eight forwards and four defensemen for next season as well as Gilbertson in the net.

“We lose four good players who were all captains for us,” Gamst said. “Statistically, we have shown improvement over last years, and there are a lot of positives to come out of the season despite not getting as many wins as we would have liked.”

The Rebels finished 6-19 on the season.

“We had a little bit of an injury bug at the end of the season,” Gamst said. “This was just a great group of guys to coach. They bonded well as teammates and they were a pleasure to coach.”

International Falls was dropped 14-0 by Hermantown Tuesday.