BOYS HOCKEY PLAYOFFS *** Despite a regular season where the team won only three games, the Moose Lake Area boys' hockey team can make a claim that about half the teams in the state can't make. They've won a playoff game, which is when the wins matter the most. Mike Knezevich's goal at 7:42 of the second overtime period lifted the Rebels (4-22-0) to a 5-4 win over Becker/Big Lake in a Section 5A play-in game at Princeton Ice Arena on Tuesday night.
I told them we had plenty of time and that if we played smart, we had time to get into the game and force overtime," Esse said. "And then they went out and showed that they could do it."
After a 6-0 whitewash of Eveleth-Gilbert in the first round of the Section 7A tournament, the Rebels were upset 4-1 by Hibbing-Chisholm in last Saturday's semifinals at Miners Memorial in Virginia.
The season is over for the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls hockey team, which lost 4-1 to Grand Rapids-Greenway in the first round of the Section 7AA tournament. The Lumberjacks (8-16-2) got a second-period goal from senior forward Rose Lundquist which tied the score at 1-1, only to see a pair of goals from Sadie Peart later in the period put GRG too far ahead to catch.
"For me, the word would be 'integrity.'" The word used to by longtime Esko boys basketball coach Rod Johnson to describe his friend John Grussendorf ring true to anyone who knew him. To John, there was nothing more important than getting it right: on the court, in his faith, and in his life. Grussendorf passed away Jan. 21 and is being remembered for what he was — a great coach and an even better person.
The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys hockey team played two home games against two of the better teams in northeastern Minnesota — and the state — in consecutive home games this week. The results weren't what coach Dave Esse had hoped to see, but that's part of the process of growing a young team.
It's a good time of the season to be playing well — especially when you face four section opponents in a one-week span. For coach Joe Mohelsky and his Moose Lake Area girls hockey team, that week was last week, capped by Tuesday night's 3-2, come-from-behind win over Hibbing-Chisholm. The Rebels (18-5-1) have one game remaining in their regular season, on Friday night in Duluth against the Northern Stars. "That win showed a lot of character," Mohelsky said. "The girls could have given up but they kept working and we popped three (goals) in the third period."
The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys hockey team turned back the clock in one way last week — and will do it again Thursday night in a different way. Last Friday night, the 'Jacks beat Superior 6-3 in the first boys varsity game in the old Pine Valley Ice Shelter (aka 'The Barn') since the opening of the newer arena next door. And today (Thursday, Feb. 2) the program will honor longtime coach Bill Kennedy with a special ceremony prior to the home game with Hermantown.
Ketola and Day, who are both attackers, are the only outstate players on the Chill’s senior roster. They travel two hours, one-way, each weekend to practice at Concordia St. Paul’s SeaFoam Stadium — home to the school’s football team but which is housed under a bubble each winter, providing ideal practice conditions.
“It’s a fine line,” Esse said. “If you play too many teams at lower levels you won’t be tested, and if you play too many hard teams and don’t have success that can lead to negativity. We have a nice balance, but hopefully Denfeld is a game where we can assert ourselves a little bit.