Cloquet-Esko-Carlton also had to go on the road for its first playoff game despite a 14-7-4 record, which earned them a trip to Andover to play the Huskies (12-13 in the regular season) last Thursday night.
“It stinks, losing,” Denman said. “We’d like to go to the semifinal but honestly, Mora and Milaca are the best teams in our section and those teams are beyond us. If we won, it would mean guys having to manage their weight, travel, miss practice and spend an evening competing with a team that is beyond us right now. Instead, we can practice, get better for individuals, heal up and be optimistic.”
After the first, 5K skating-style leg of the combined skating-classical race, the Cloquet High School junior led by an amazing 35 seconds.
“Based on who we played and who we beat, we should be the fourth seed,” Esse said.
The Wilderness (26-12-3) have until midnight Saturday to select a 23-man roster which they’ll have to use until the end of the season. The problem is that the team has so many injuries, selecting the right 23 will be a problem.
Thursday’s game will also have a pre-game ceremony to honor longtime coach Dick Bartholdi, who was inducted into the Minnesota Girls’ Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame this fall.
“We do call it the ‘group of death,’” Sorenson said, and laughed. “It’s going to be tough to advance as a team but we are in the mix.
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