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Lumberjacks get dramatic playoff win

Playing in the school's first-ever playoff game, the

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys lacrosse team eked out a narrow 7-5 home win over Duluth Marshall at Members Cooperative Credit Union Stadium Tuesday night.

"I told the guys they nearly gave me a heart attack," said head coach Luke Mehelich. "It was a tough game, but we battled through and found a way at the end."

The win put CEC into

second-round action set for 7 p.m. Thursday at home against Centennial, which took a 17-2 win over Grand Rapids/Greenway on Tuesday. In Minnesota, there is only one class in lacrosse.

Michael Cadotte carried the offensive hammer all night for the Lumberjacks in the win Tuesday. He scored five goals in the game. With the game tied at 5-5 and 3:45 left in regulation, the Lumberjacks took a penalty, putting them a man down. Despite being shorthanded, Cadotte took a long pass from Alec Halvorson and sprinted down the field. He zig zagged his way to the Hilltopper net, where he blasted a shot in from the left edge, giving CEC a 6-5 lead with 3:16 remaining.

"That's not how we drew it up," Mehelich said. "We've been really working on shortening up our passes, so when they made that long pass our heart sank for a second, but it turned out great for us."

Cadotte put the game on ice with an amazing behind-the-back shot with just 1:15 remaining in regulation to give CEC the 7-5 win.

"There is a reason that Michael is one of the top scorers in the state," Mehelich said.

CEC drew first blood just 4:05 into the game when Cadotte sliced through the defense and blew a shot past Hilltopper goalie Henry Schultz. Marshall tied the game at 9:25 and then took a 2-1 lead before the first half ended.

"I think there were a lot of nerves going into the game because it was our first-ever playoff game in school history," Mehelich said.

Cadotte scored at 10:03 and 8:33 of the third quarter to put Cloquet up 3-2, but Marshall evened things at 3-3 with 6:47 remaining in the third on a powerplay goal.

The Lumberjacks responded with a pair of goals by Halvorson and Saige Moran at 5:12 and 4:16 of the third quarter, and CEC led it 5-3 after three quarters.

Marshall stormed back early in the fourth quarter and tied the game with 8:45 left, setting up the wild finish.

Throughout the game the Lumberjacks had to weather a fierce offensive effort by Marshall, but their defensive corps held, Mehelich said. Goalie Broderick Marsh was called on to make three or four stellar saves over the last minutes of the game.

"Marsh is a vital part of our defensive unit and has really stepped up into a big role for us," Mehelich said. "He had to really come up big at the end of the game and that is something he's been doing all year. Our whole defensive unit really had to fight for everything at the end of the game."

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