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Future looks good for Cloquet hockey

For the first time since the 1989 season, a Cloquet PeeWee A hockey team has advanced to the Minnesota State PeeWee Hockey Tournament. This year's Cloquet team has built a 40-9-1 record and has won five tournaments this season.

For the first time since the 1989 season, a Cloquet PeeWee A hockey team has advanced to the Minnesota State PeeWee Hockey Tournament. This year's Cloquet team has built a 40-9-1 record and has won five tournaments this season.

"At the beginning of the year we were 9-6-1 and then the team won 27 games in a row," explained Cloquet coach Brian Michaud. "We finished second in points in our league and then went into the district playoffs."

The district playoffs were held in Two Harbors and Cloquet started out as the No. 2 seed in the double-elimination event. Game one saw Cloquet down Hermantown 4-1. Cloquet's 27-game win streak came to an end with a second round loss to Duluth East 5-4.

"We came back from a 5-1 hole," said Michaud. "We then had to play Hermantown that night and we beat them in overtime 5-4. A couple of days later we played Duluth East again and we beat them 4-0."

At that point, both Cloquet and Duluth East had one loss and faced each other for the championship of the district tournament. Cloquet won the game by a 3-1 score, which gave Cloquet the DAHA Playoff Championship as well as the District 11 title.

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"This year three teams from District 11 were invited for the region playoffs in Cloquet," stated Michaud. "Cloquet, Duluth East and Hermantown were all invited."

The regional playoffs were held Feb. 29 to March 2. Teams from District 10, 11 and 12 all were invited. From District 10 the two teams were St. Cloud and Coon Rapids and District 12 featured Grand Rapids, International Falls and Hibbing.

In the regionals, the teams were divided into two pools with the top two teams moving on in the playoffs. Cloquet downed Coon Rapids in their first game of pool play by a 4-3 score, but then lost to Grand Rapids in the second game 2-1. In their third game, Cloquet defeated Hibbing 8-2. Grand Rapids ended up being the No. 1 seed from the pool with Cloquet the No. 2 seed. The other pool featured Hermantown as the No. 1 seed and Duluth East as the No. 2 seed. The No. 1 seed from each pool played the No. 2 seed from the other pool with the winners of those games advancing to the state tournament. Grand Rapids defeated Duluth East 4-3 and then Cloquet shut out Hermantown 3-0, as both Cloquet and Grand Rapids advanced to the state tournament in Willmar, Minn., and will feature eight teams.

Cloquet will open the state tournament against the No. 1-ranked team in the state, Wayzata, at 3 p.m. on Friday. Cloquet is ranked No. 5 according to "Let's Play Hockey" magazine.

The last time a Cloquet team played in the state tournament was in the '88-89 season and the team was coached by Lamirande.

This year's team is coached by Brian Michaud, Ron Peterson and John Robideaux.

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