ELY – The Timberwolves are fielding one of the youngest hockey teams in school history this season, but fifth-year head Coach Ben Johnson said there is no shortage of desire as the Timberwolves …
ELY – The Timberwolves are fielding one of the youngest hockey teams in school history this season, but fifth-year head Coach Ben Johnson said there is no shortage of desire as the Timberwolves opened the 2019-2020 season last weekend with a tough two-game home set against Kittson Central of northwestern Minnesota.
The Bearcats outscored Ely 9-2 on Friday night and 9-1 on Saturday afternoon.
Ely scored first against Kittson County in the opening period Friday night on a shot by senior Luke Olson, who led the team with 35 goals last season. Jimmy Zupancich and Jason Skube notched the assists on the goal. But the Bearcats quickly evened the score and took a 3-1 lead after the first period, holding Ely to just five shots on goal in the opening frame.
Ely managed just 11 shots on goal for the game. Kittson, meanwhile, peppered Ely goalie Chase Sandberg with 15 shots in the first period, 22 more in the second period, and seven more in the final stanza for a total of 44 shots on goal.
The Bearcats added four more goals in the second period to take a 7-1 lead. Olson scored again for Ely late in the third period, again with assists by Zupancich and Skube, and the Bearcats lit their lamp two more times for the 9-2 final.
Both teams were tagged with four minutes in the penalty box on two infractions. Kittson scored once on a power play.
On Saturday, Kittson County jumped out to a 6-0 first-period lead. Olson scored early in the second period, with an assist by Sean Prigge, to give the Timberwolves their only score for the afternoon. The Bearcats scored once more in the second period and added two more in the third frame for a 9-1 final.
Ely had 12 shots on goal Saturday and Kittson County had 37 shots against freshman goalie Ben Cavalier.
Coach Johnson, who will have the opportunity to help coach in Europe early next month, said he’s seeing a great attitude and work ethic from his players this year. Johnson is assisted by Jake Myers and Stan Skelton.
Senior defenseman Dalton Schreffler, who is still recovering from an injury during the football season, played in the first period Friday night, but re-injured his leg and did not suit up on Saturday. “I tried to play, but that didn’t last long,” he said before the game. “I hope to get back on the ice in a month or so.”
Olson and Schreffler are joined by senior Skube, and junior Zupancich, from Northeast Range High School, to anchor the team with the most playing experience.
The Timberwolves have a 20-game regular season schedule that includes nine home dates. They travel to Greenway on Friday, Nov. 29 and return home Saturday, Nov. 30, for a 2 p.m. game against Park Rapids.