> "Our numbers were smaller than usual," coach Ryan Zimny said. But there's an upside to the smaller numbers.
The CEC boys took third place in a loaded field that also featured section powers Grand Rapids and Ely. "If I had to pick, I would say Grand Rapids is the favorite," coach Glen Sorenson said. "But Ely is very good, too, and we aren't too bad." CEC took third place even while giving star skier Aiden Ripp what amounted to a day off.
Overall we played OK, but we didn't win the game."
With nine games to play in the regular season and six of them at home, Olin still knows that nothing will come easy for her team. "We have a tough stretch of schedule against some good teams," she said. "We play Cambridge (13-4); we play at Andover (10-5-1); we play Proctor-Hermantown (10-9). It's going to be tough."
"Everyone is contributing," Madsen said. "We don't have anybody in the top 25 in the league in scoring and no players with a point per game. That doesn't happen often, but it really impresses me. We have depth, we're balanced and rolling four lines and six defensemen each night. Some teams have horses that are going to score 60-70 points, but we're winning as a team."
"If you take away those minutes, we're on a winning streak," coach Kevin Smalley said. "But you don't take away those minutes, of course, so the players learned a painful lesson."
Sorenson, who spent much of 2015-16 battling aggressive prostate cancer, has returned for a 38th — and this time, final — season as a high school Nordic skiing coach. He's coaching at Cloquet-Esko-Carlton at the personal request of his top assistant.
> Cockburn, 63, of Cloquet, was a charter member of one of the area's first women's hockey teams: the Cloquet Lady Lumberjacks. In the winter of 1984-85, she got in on the ground floor of what has grown into an international sport.
"We've bought some rental equipment that's in good shape for our kids to use, and some of it in smaller sizes so the junior high kids can try it out and see if they like the sport.
"I wouldn't mind some teams at our level of skill, but the big push is for February and just working hard," Denman said. But he wouldn't mind seeing Conner on his bench one more time.