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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Ely continues sudden struggles on the ice

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 2/9/24

ELY— The Timberwolves’ struggles on the ice continued this week as they dropped two of the three games, including a 7-0 shellacking by North Shore on Monday. Referees halted the game …

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Ely continues sudden struggles on the ice


ELY— The Timberwolves’ struggles on the ice continued this week as they dropped two of the three games, including a 7-0 shellacking by North Shore on Monday. Referees halted the game within the first two minutes after an Ely player checked a North Shore skater into the boards. Refs missed the apparent infraction, but the impact knocked the North Shore player unconscious, halting play for an extended period as emergency medical responders removed him from the arena on a backboard.
The North Shore head coach threatened to pull out of the game but later relented and the action eventually continued. But the incident seemed to motivate the Storm, who thoroughly dominated the rest of the way, holding Ely to just 17 shots on goal. The Storm lit the lamp twice in the first period, added a third in the second, and punched in four more in the final period, all unanswered by Ely.
Ely goalie Ben Leeson had a tough night in the net, allowing seven goals on 31 shots, for a save percentage of .774, one of his roughest outings of the season.
The loss dropped Ely’s record to 13-11 on the season. It’s a dramatic fall from their 12-5 start, as the Wolves have now lost six of their last seven outings.
Ely notched their first win in two weeks on Saturday, as they topped the WSFLG squad 6-0 in Siren, Wis.
Ely senior Deegan Richards put the Wolves up midway through the first period on a power play with an assist from classmate Wes Sandy. Senior Brecken Sandberg added an unassisted short-handed goal three minutes later and Richards punched Ely’s third into the net just 30 seconds later while the Wolves were back at full-strength. The assist went to junior Jace Huntbatch.
Ely senior Drew Marolt provided the Wolves with plenty of insurance as he notched a trick with two goals in the second period and a third on a power play early in the third period, with Richards on the assist.
Despite the score, WSFLG notched a hefty 32 shots on goal, but Leeson brushed them all aside. The Wolves notched 29 shots on goal. Six WSFLG penalties didn’t help their cause. Ely’s Kadein Zupancich spent four minutes in the box on tripping and roughing penalties, while Huntbatch was tagged for a two-minute interference penalty.
Playing in St. Paul last Friday, an early goal by Drew Marolt, with an assist from Richards, gave the Wolves a momentary lead in a game they went on to lose 4-1. St. Paul Johnson went on to tie the score toward the end of the first period and added two more in the second and an insurance goal in the third. The Wolves were plagued by penalties in the first two periods, including 15-minutes in the box for Sandberg on two unsportsmanlike conduct penalites halfway through the second period. Sandberg spent another two minutes off ice early in the first period on a roughing charge, and the Wolves were assessed another two minutes at the 4:36 mark for having too many skaters on the ice. Sandy was pinched twice, first for cross-checking and finally for slashing. Huntbatch was called twice for tripping and goalie Ben Leeson was called on a tripping charge as well.
The Wolves tallied 29 shots on goal, to 30 for St. Paul Johnson.
Ely was set to travel to Moose Lake on Friday in their final game of the regular season. The Section 7A playoffs get underway on Saturday, Feb. 17.