Cloquet-Esko-Carlton’s 17-game win streak ended with a 6-1 blowout loss to Proctor-Hermantown Tuesday, Jan. 21, in Proctor.
The Lumberjacks fell behind 2-0 with goals by the Mirage’s Hannah Kauppinen in the first five minutes of the game. CEC regained its footing later in the period and began forcing Mirage goalie Abby Pajari to make some saves.
The second period, however, saw a devastating stretch that put the game out of reach. The Mirage scored three goals in a two minute span beginning with one from Nya Sieger at 2:19 and ending with Hailey Winklesky’s power-play goal.
Alyssa Watkins added another goal before the end of the second period to put the Lumberjacks in a 6-0 hole headed into the third period.
Kiana Bender scored a power-play goal to break up Pajari’s shutout bid.
CEC freshman goalie Araya Kiminski had eight saves and senior Lauren Maslowski had 13 for the Lumberjacks. Pajari finished the game with 28 saves for the Mirage.
“Coming into tonight, we knew that they would be a skilled team that we would have to play solid defensive on,” coach Courtney Olin said. “But we had some defensive breakdowns that led to some goals.”
Defensive miscues and failure to take advantage of offensive opportunities were the problem against PH, said Olin.
The Lumberjacks outshot their opponents 29-27, but they were 0-for-3 on power play opportunities before Bender’s goal when the game was already decided.
The Lumberjacks started their season with a 4-2 win over the Mirage, where CEC jumped out to an early lead.
The loss was their first in more than two months. During that stretch, the team emerged as a contender for the Section 7A crown.
The Lumberjacks are likely to see the Mirage again in the section tournament that starts Feb. 4.
“Looking ahead, we have to capitalize on our scoring opportunities,” Olin said. “We also have to clean up our defensive breakdowns and make sure our defensive zone is cleaned up so we are not giving up the opportunities that we did tonight.”
CEC (18-3) is next scheduled to play at Grand Rapids/Greenway at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23.
First period — 1. PH, Hannah Kauppinen (Megan Madill, Ella Anick), 2:27; 2. PH, Kauppinen (Madill, Ava Anick), 5:00.
Second period — 3. PH, Nya Sieger (Hailey Winklesky, Macy Sieger), 2:19; 4. PH, Michaela Phinney (Aurora Opsahl), 3:18; 5. PH, Winklesky (N. Sieger, Kaydee High) (pp); 6. PH, Alyssa Watkins (Phinney), 12:41.
Third period — 7. CEC, Kiana Bender (Taylor Nelson), 6:25 (pp).
Saves — Abby Pajari, PH, 28; Araya Kiminski CEC, 8; Lauren Maslowski, CEC, 13.