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Stealth rains on CEC's win parade

The first season in history of the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys lacrosse program has been nothing short of impressive. The Lumberjacks have displayed massive offensive firepower and a stingy defense, a formula that guided them to an impressive 7-0 record on the season. That changed on Tuesday night when CEC took its first loss of the season by a score of 13-5 to the Proctor/Hermantown Stealth.

CEC drew first scoring blood in the game on an impressive individual effort by Logan Dahlman, who weaved and fought his way through three defenders to score at 9:35 of the first quarter. The Stealth answered on a goal by Dane Callaway with 2:43 remaining in the first stanza and the score stood 1-1 after one.

"We were definitely looking forward to this game because all of our guys played with their guys up until the past year or so," said CEC coach Luke Mehelich. "We wanted to come out flying and we got that first goal, which was good, but then they grabbed the momentum late in the second."

The second quarter saw the 'Jacks get goals from Saige Moran with an assist by Ben Saletel and by Michael Cadotte with an assist from Tait Erickson. Unfortunately, the Stealth scored three goals to nab a 5-4 lead at halftime.

"It was still any team's game after the first half," Mehelich saud. "Then in the second half, they just got the momentum and we struggled to get it back."

Things took a turn for the worse - as did the weather - in the third quarter for the Lumberjacks. They struggled in the defensive end of the field and the Stealth jumped on them offensively to go ahead 9-4. Dark skies had threatened all game long, but rain became a factor for both teams late in the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter as the skies opened up, pelting fans and players alike.

"Possession of the ball is everything and the longer they kept possession, the less chance we had to get into an offensive rhythm and score ourselves," Mehelich said.

Key in the long possessions for the Stealth was their ability to win face-offs and then control the ball on the perimeter, causing the 'Jacks to lose positioning.

CEC's defensive woes continued in the final quarter as they were outscored 4-1 in the quarter with the 'Jacks' lone goal coming from Logan Dahlman.

Despite the loss, CEC got a strong performance in goal from Broderick Marsh, who finished with 18 saves in the loss.

"I thought Broderick played well and he was our player of the game," Mehelich said.

Despite the loss, the Lumberjacks are still an impressive 8-1 on the season.

"Up to this point we've been tested in games, but we've come out with the win," Mehelich said. "It has been a very pleasant season and now we will get back to work. This was a very humbling experience, but our guys have worked their tails off to get better, and we'll continue to do that."

Next up for CEC is a road game next Thursday against the Rocori team they beat in the first game of the season. The next home game is 1 p.m. May 18 at Esko vs. Minneapolis.

"You know they'll be ready for revenge," said Mehelich. "We'll work hard this week in practice; we'll be ready to go next week to get going again."

Upfront the 'Jacks have scored 99 goals in just seven games for an average of 14.14 goals per game.

Defensively, CEC has allowed only 54 goals on the season, an average of 7.71 goals per game, which is a pretty stingy defense in lacrosse.

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