PROCTOR – Ely’s hockey team ended its season here on Saturday with a 12-2 loss to Proctor in a Minnesota State High School League Section 7A play-in game. The Timberwolves team, …
PROCTOR – Ely’s hockey team ended its season here on Saturday with a 12-2 loss to Proctor in a Minnesota State High School League Section 7A play-in game. The Timberwolves team, “the youngest in the state,” according to the ISD 696 athletic director, posted a 3-16 record for the season.
The Wolves were seeded tenth in the post season and faced off against the Rails (10-14) who were seeded seventh.
Ely managed just 16 shots on goal in the contest, while Proctor pelted sophomore goalie Chase Sandberg with 46 pucks to the net.
The Rails scored early in the first period to take a 1-0 lead. Junior Jimmy Zupancich answered with an even-strength goal, assisted by senior standout Luke Olson, at 7:26 to tie the score at 1-1. Proctor answered in quick fashion, with goals at 8:15 and 8:44, to regain the lead. Another goal at 13:58 gave the Rails a 4-1 lead after the opening frame. Ely had two power play opportunities in the first period, but could not take advantage of the extra skater on the ice.
The Wolves were allowed just three shots to the net in the second period. Proctor peppered Sandberg with 20 scoring chances, coming away with five more goals to take a 9-1 lead.
Ely opened the third period with a goal by senior Jason Skube at 3:52, assisted by eighth graders Sam Leeson and Tyler Walker, to cut the lead to 9-2. The Rails kept the pressure on with three more goals, at 6:32, 9:10 and 14:20, for the 12-2 victory. They advanced to play second-seeded Duluth Denfeld Tuesday in a 7A quarterfinal.
Ely loses to Mora
In their final regular-season game last Thursday the Timberwolves lost to Mora/Milaca, 8-2, at Mora Civic Center. Ely had 13 scoring chances and Mora/Milaca hit freshman goalie Ben Cavalier with 41 shots on goal.
The Timberwolves scored on two power play goals, the first one at 13:08 in the second period, by eighth grader Wes Sandy with an assist by Olson. Jimmy Zupancich scored at 4:01 in the third period with an assist by senior Dalton Schreffler.
In an update to the Ely school board last week, Tom Coombe defended the team’s low victory total by noting that the Timberwolves were outmatched in most every contest this year due to the lack of upper classmen on the varsity team. “I feel very safe in saying that we have the youngest hockey team in the state,” he said.
The 2019-2020 team fielded just a handful of juniors and seniors, along with eight eighth graders, four freshman, and two sophomores.
The Wolves won two out of three games against Bagley-Fosston this year, and took a long road trip into Wisconsin to notch their third win of the season against Siren High School.