Cloquet-Esko-Carlton junior Dana Jones scored two goals to lead the Lumberjacks to a 5-2 home win over Duluth Thursday, Feb. 4.
Most of the night, the Lumberjacks were able to keep the puck in the Northern Stars zone and pepper goalie Sophie Mitchell with plenty of shots.
The Northern Stars put 10 shots on net in the first period, but couldn’t get the puck past CEC goalie Araya Kiminski, while Erin Loeb and Jones each scored for the Lumberjacks.
“We were happy with the amount of shots and scoring opportunities we had in the first two periods,” CEC coach Courtney Olin said. “I think that led to us producing some goals and having some success on the boards.”
The CEC defense stood out in the second period, allowing just three shots, while adding another goal from Taylor Wick.
After Lily Hanson scored early in the third period, the Lumberjack defense appeared to get a little complacent, with Duluth putting several shots on goal and scoring twice to cut the lead to 4-2 with about 5 minutes to play.
“I think our team played really well together tonight, but there’s definitely work that needs to be done,” Kiminski said. “I think we kind of got ahead of ourselves coming into the third period and we lost a little bit of motivation because we were ahead. But once they scored those two goals, we definitely stepped up our game and shut them out for the rest of the game.”
Jones added her second goal on a pass from Lily Hanson with about 20 seconds to play.
Scoring has been a big question mark for the Lumberjacks this season, after graduating eight seniors from the 2019-20 squad that lost in the Minnesota Class A championship game.
Nearly 60% of that team’s goals and 70% of its total points came from three players: Taylor Nelson, Kiana Bender and Dea DeLeon. Nelson is playing hockey for Bemidji State, while Bender and DeLeon are members of the Minnesota Duluth softball team this year.
“We knew that this year we’d have to do some rebuilding,” Olin said. “I think thing the big focus we’ve had is just putting shots on net and getting the puck into nets, obviously. You’re not going to produce any points or score any goals if you don’t get it on net. We’ve been fortunate enough to have some girls able to bury that and hopefully we’ll continue to figure that out.”
Another boost for the Lumberjacks came from the return of defenseman Tenley Stewart. Stewart missed CEC’s first two games, but was a positive force against the Northern Stars.
“I think her poise and presence on the ice was very evident tonight,’ Olin said. “As a defenseman you don’t always get credit for the work that you do, but I think anyone who was in the arena tonight was able to see the talent that she has. We’re very happy to have her back.
CEC (2-1) is next scheduled to host Superior at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8.
Duluth (1-5) will travel to play Hibbing/Chisholm at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9.
First period — 1. CEC, Erin Loeb, 10:44; 2. CEC, Dana Jones (Tenley Stewart), 13:34.
Second period — 3. CEC, Taylor Wick (Bella Harrimann, Lily Hanson), 16:39.
Third period — 4. CEC, Hanson, 1:42; 5. D, Molly Henderson (Annika Lindgren), 9:41; 6. D, Emma Fellman (Lindgren), 11:56; 7. CEC, Jones (Hanson), 16:40 (sh).
Saves — Sophie Mitchell, D, 24; Jules Lebsack, D, 6; Araya Kiminski, CEC, 22.