CEC never trailed after that point. Kiana Bender made it 4-3 in the third period only to see Lauren White force overtime with 51 seconds left before Nelson's overtime winner. The Fighting Saints scored three goals on eight first-period shots but only one on 19 shots after that, as CEC’s defense tightened in front of goaltender Erin Genereau.
But while the ’Jacks didn't play to expectations, Esse doesn't believe the final score was reflective of the level of play in the game. "I don't think they are five goals better than we are, but we did not play well at all and they did," he said. "The odd-man rushes we gave up, the way we played, it wasn't good, but we came back well.”
“We have holes and injuries but we have the people in place so when the time comes they’ll be ready,” Denman said. “We’ll have a 220-pound wrestler, Devin Reynolds is one of the top heavyweights in the state, Dylan Lauer is a large 220, and we’re building up guys who aren’t yet up to competitive scratch because when you lose, how you lose matters. It’s three team points if you lose by a decision but six if you get pinned, so you can save your team points and that can win a dual meet.”
“Their rink is a hard place to play, the ice is usually wet and soft and slow and they’ll have a good crowd,” he said. “It’ll be a great test to see how good we are. I want little steps every game and I want us to see what our people are made of. One game doesn’t make our season, at least not until February.”
Last year’s school district levy jumped by 34 percent due to debt service needs on the new middle school and other school district building projects. The public is invited to attend the annual Truth in Taxation hearing, which begins at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1,2 in the Garfield School boardroom.
On Saturday night, the teams met in Cloquet. The Greyhounds skated a comparatively young group, with nine of their 17 players graduating in 2009 or later, including goaltender Gunnar Howg, who played on Mike Randolph’s 2015 state runners-up team.
“Nick was the first kid to walk into my classroom, shake my hand and tell me what he wanted to get out of the program, which was very impressive,” he said. “Wyatt is a great on-ice leader who works hard and works by example.”
The weekend also marked the Wilderness debut for Moose Lake’s Bryceton Butkiewicz, who picked up two assists against Bismarck. Butkiewicz passed up his senior hockey season in Moose Lake to play for the Wilderness.
“It’s good to be home over Thanksgiving weekend,” Madsen said. “It’s good for the guys to spend the holidays with their billet families and for the local kids to be at home. Family time is important, to spend time with the people who take care of you.”
“You win, you get more people in the stands and maybe a home playoff game, which is so important,” Esse said. “It snowballs.”