But the end goal, as Sorenson closes out his head coaching career this winter, is to get to state. “It’s going to be very difficult,” he said. “But we’d like to get both our boys and girls teams there. They can do it.”
For tournament purposes, the ’Jacks lost during the three-on-three overtime session used to break ties, but the regulation game — which counts in the standings — was a 6-6 draw that was as entertaining a high school hockey game as you’ll ever see.
“It was great to rally, and it was great to come from behind to get that win,” Costley said. “We needed a win and it gave the kids some confidence.”
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.”