’Jacks end year in double overtime lossThe ’Jacks fell 4-3 to second-seeded Grand Rapids-Greenway on Saturday at the IRA Civic Center in Grand Rapids on a goal by Molly Illikainen, but Bushey is very proud of his team’s effort. CEC finished its season with a 12-13-1 record.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
The end result might have been a double-overtime defeat in the Section 7AA girls hockey semifinals, but Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Coach Mike Bushey doesn’t feel defeated.
“It was great, actually,” he said. “Not that we lost, but it was actually a great game.”
The ’Jacks fell 4-3 to second-seeded Grand Rapids-Greenway on Saturday at the IRA Civic Center in Grand Rapids on a goal by Molly Illikainen, but Bushey is very proud of his team’s effort. CEC finished its season with a 12-13-1 record.
“Unfortunately we ended up on the wrong end, but the kids played hard and did everything we asked,” he said.
Kelly Carlson got CEC off to a good start with a goal at the 10-minute mark of the first period. After Hannah Schmoll tied the score for the home team, Caitlyn Lilly’s power-play goal at 15:49 of the first period gave the ’Jacks a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
CEC led 3-1 in the second period on Carlson’s second goal of the game – but the Lightning rallied in the third period.
“They had a kid who was pretty good,” Bushey said. “Molly Illikainen somehow found a way to score two goals. It’s amazing how really good players find ways to do that.”
Illikainen made it 3-2 at the 4:55 mark of the third period and Aspen Anderson tied the score on a power play at 8:55, a goal that eventually forced
After a scoreless first session,
Illikainen won the game for the home team at 2:41 of the second overtime.
“It’s hard to put into words how much you admire kids who play that hard,” Bushey said. “Sometimes they aren’t healthy or they are hurt, and it doesn’t matter to them.”
Bushey noted that a good portion of the season was spent with his team under strength.
“It was a combination of being sick, injured, and sick and injured at the same time,” Bushey said. “But especially our seniors, these kids went out and performed at the top of their games, which starts with the captains and goes right on down.”
CEC won its first-round game with a Feb. 9 shutout of Forest Lake, a 4-0
triumph at Northwoods Credit Union Arena.
“We played a great first period and a great third period,” Bushey said. “Forest Lake had a good second period and was a better team than their record showed.”
Carlson’s goal at 7:17 of the first period was the eventual game winner but it wasn’t until the third period that CEC put the game away.
After a scoreless second period, Kristi Konietzko scored 55 seconds into the third session for a 2-0 advantage, with Carley Esse expanding that lead, thanks to a goal at 5:54.
Esse scored her second goal of the game with 2:32 to play to put the outcome beyond doubt. CEC killed off two five-on-three shorthanded situations in the third period and had one two-player advantage themselves.
In the end, however, the season ended one game short of the section finals, which will feature Grand Rapids-
Greenway and top-seeded Elk River-Zimmerman on Thursday night.
“It was inspiring to watch our kids,” Bushey said. “We get great support from the community but what I’m most proud of is the way our players conduct themselves. These kids are representing our community and I think they do a great job of that.”
All Conference girls hockey players
The Lake Superior conference recently selected the following athletes to the 2012 All Conference girls hockey teams:
First Team – Megan Hanson, Sarah Buckner and Nikki Logergren of Duluth Denfeld-East; Dalyce Gustafson and Carley Esse of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton; and Reilly Fawcett of Proctor-Hermantown.
Second Team – Alyssa Acheson and Kelly Carlson of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton; Melinda Nelson and Justina Lindberg of Proctor-Hermantown; Kaitlyn Mergen of Superior; and Claudia Gagnon of Duluth Denfeld-East.
Honorable Mention – Ari Jago of Superior and Sarah Lyle of Duluth Denfeld-East.