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'Jacks win to advance to 7AA semifinals

A charged up Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys hockey team picked up a 3-0 shutout win over Elk River in the quarterfinals of the Section 7AA boys hockey tournament on Tuesday night in Cloquet.

A charged up Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys hockey team picked up a 3-0 shutout win over Elk River in the quarterfinals of the Section 7AA boys hockey tournament on Tuesday night in Cloquet.

"I thought we played with much better emotion and had good jump in our skates," mentioned CEC coach Dave Esse. "Overall, I thought we played very solid."

The Lumberjacks and Elks played to a scoreless first period tie, but the Jacks held an 11-8 shot advantage that could have been worse.

"Our defensive play was very good with only a few lapses," stated Esse. "Our defensemen did a great job of staggering and stepping up into the play."

CEC's first goal of the game was scored at the 10:19 mark of the second period when Austin Hatch fed Oscar Carlsson for the goal.

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"Hatch carried the puck into the zone and threaded a perfect slot pass to Oscar for a tap in," explained Esse. "We are very happy with the effort and proud that the seniors won their last home game of their career."

One of those seniors is goaltender Aaron Baker, who played strong in the nets by recording 18 saves.

"Baker made several key stops and played the puck very well," said Esse. "I was happy for him to play his last home game and end with a shutout."

The Jacks completely dominated the second period and only allowed two Elk River shots on net. However, the Elks picked things up in the third period and Baker helped slam the door until CEC scored two late empty net goals to secure the win.

With 53 seconds remaining in regulation, Adam Boleman jumped on a loose puck in his own zone, turned and fired a shot all the way down on Elk River's empty net to push the score to 2-0. CEC went up 3-0 when Boleman and Justin Jokinen teamed up to feed Hatch with an easy shot for a goal with just 27 seconds remaining.

The Lumberjacks outshot the Elks 34 to 18 in the game.

The win by the Lumberjacks, coupled with Duluth East's 8-0 win over St. Francis, puts CEC in the sectional semifinals against the Greyhounds at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.

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