Boys hockey: CEC beats Bemidji 4-3The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys hockey team picked up a quality win in the quarterfinals of the Heritage Hockey Classic on Tuesday night – hanging on for a 4-3 victory over Bemidji to improve to 6-3-0 on the season.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys hockey team picked up a quality win in the quarterfinals of the Heritage Hockey Classic on Tuesday night – hanging on for a 4-3 victory over Bemidji to improve to 6-3-0 on the season.
That win earned the ’Jacks a tournament semifinal date against Forest Lake, played as this edition of the Pine Journal went to press.
“We let in a bad goal to begin with but battled back,” coach Dave Esse said. “They (Bemidji) hadn’t given up a goal all year in the first period but we got one.”
Bemidji had outscored its opposition 19-0 in the first period prior to Tuesday night but Jack McFarlane’s goal at the 13:20 mark got CEC back to blank paper.
The ’Jacks kicked things up a notch in the second period with goals from Adam Hanson at the 1:06 mark and Joey Singpiel’s power-play goal at 9:24, staking the team to a 3-1 advantage after two periods.
“In the second period, we were much better,” Esse said. “At the start of the third we should have been up 4-1 or more but we took a bad penalty to give them some momentum. They are a good club and we had a chance to bury them but we didn’t do it.”
John Forseth’s power-play goal for Bemidji at 6:51 made it 3-2 but Nolan Meyer’s 16th goal of the season with 3:33 to play restored the two-goal lead. Max Hazleton scored with 1:03 to go to make it 4-3, but CEC held on for the win.
“The bottom line is we won, and no one got hurt,” Esse said. “I’m happy with the win against a good team. We have things to work on, and any coach knows you always have something to work on. We’ve got lots of young and inexperienced players who we are trying to have play their best hockey at the end of the year.”
The tournament is also giving Esse the chance to experiment with his lines. Karson Kuhlmann was moved to McFarlane’s line with Meyer for the Bemidji game, with Ben Michaud changing lines as well.
“We have two lines that are comparable to each other this way,” Esse said. “I think that instead of having one top-heavy line, we’re more balanced.”
That said, even at 6-3-0 overall, Esse isn’t quite satisfied.
“I’m not happy with the overall chemistry yet,” he said. “We might have to move around a few more people to get better. I think there is better in these players, absolutely.”
The semifinals of the Heritage Tournament will pit CEC against section opponent Forest Lake.
“Forest Lake has played some teams tough. They have one really good line and a couple defensemen. We’ll need to be good but we should match up well against them.”