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Wolves drop opening series

Jay Greeney
Posted 11/30/17

ELY— A young Timberwolves hockey team showed progress in a two-game series with Kittson Central this past weekend, but still lost both games to the Bearcats.

Ely struggled in the season opener …

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Wolves drop opening series

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ELY— A young Timberwolves hockey team showed progress in a two-game series with Kittson Central this past weekend, but still lost both games to the Bearcats.

Ely struggled in the season opener for both teams on Friday evening, falling 10-3. But the Bearcats needed a late game rally in their Saturday matinee to edge the Wolves, 6-5.

The Wolves played well in the rematch as Kittson led 1-0 at the end of the first period. In the second period, Ely outscored the Bearcats 4-2 and took a 4-3 lead into the third period. A quick goal to start the final period gave Ely a 5-3 lead and the apparent momentum. But the tide quickly turned as the Bearcats netted three unanswered points, with the game winner coming with less than two minutes left in the game.

Ely Head Coach Ben Johnson said he liked what he saw on Saturday. “The team played much better. We didn’t have as many penalties and mistakes in game two.”

Ely is playing with a smaller upperclass and is likely to depend on younger players to step up to remain competitive this season. The Wolves are starting the season with eighth-grader Chase Sandberg in goal. He had a much better second game as he allowed six goals on 41 shot attempts.

Friday night’s opener had the Wolves down just 3-2 at the end of the first period. However, the Bearcats scored seven of the next eight goals to win game one, 10-3.

“We have a young team and we made some mistakes,” said Johnson. “We had too many penalties.”

Ely had 22 minutes of penalties compared to just ten for Kittson Central. The Wolves recorded 24 shots on goal, compared to 21 for Kittson Central. But the Bearcats made them count, as ten of them hit home.

Ely senior Gage Merhar, junior Nick Mattila, and sophomore Luke Olson notched goals for the Wolves in Friday’s match-up.

The 0-2 Wolves hit the road Saturday to play Wadena-Deer Creek. Game time is 2 p.m.

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