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CEC girls in search of holiday cheer

The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls hockey team played Elk River to a 1-1 tie last Friday night and is heading to its holiday tournament in high spirits. Courtney Esse's third-period goal last week earned a split in the point against Minnesota's eight...

The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton girls hockey team played Elk River to a 1-1 tie last Friday night and is heading to its holiday tournament in high spirits.

Courtney Esse's third-period goal last week earned a split in the point against Minnesota's eighth-ranked large school team and a fellow state tournament entrant from a season ago.

"The game had a nice flow to it," coach Dick Bartholdi said. "The game could have gone either way. They are good, we were playing in their rink, and they are in our section now, so it could be a preview game for us."

The official shot board had Elk River outshooting the 'Jacks 36-23, which didn't seem credible to Bartholdi.

"We did give up some shots and we're working hard to correct that," he said. "I was still quite happy with our effort."

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A week away from games - but not practices - is welcome for the coach.

"We haven't had any decent practices lately because we always seem to have a game the next day," he said.

Not so this week - until the team plays three games in three days after Christmas at the first-ever Eden Prairie Mid-Winter Meltdown.

A season ago, the 'Jacks won their holiday tournament at Andover and used the momentum to propel themselves to state.

"I'm excited about the tournament," Bartholdi said. "Last year, that tournament helped us get on a roll."

A recent 6-5 loss at Wayzata was a blow to the team, however. CEC was missing four players in that game - two with injury and two more to ACT tests.

"We didn't play well at all and even though it was only a one-goal game, it was just ridiculous," Bartholdi said. "That was a low point."

The team started to play better in its 2-1 win over Silver Bay last week.

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"We started to play well there," he said. "I want to see consistent play in this tournament."

It all starts with a Monday game against Spring Lake Park. Defending state champion Stillwater is in the field along with the host team North Metro, Shakopee, Eagan and Blaine.

"I want to see us work hard to get the puck out of the zone better," Bartholdi said. "That's really what we want to look for."

Of course, three wins wouldn't hurt either.

Related Topics: CARLTONCLOQUETESKOHOCKEY
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