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Lumberjacks rebound after East loss

Despite what the line from that old Frank Sinatra tune would have you believe, youth isn't always "wasted on the young." After a 5-0 whitewash at the Heritage Center last Thursday against Duluth East that coach Dave Esse called "disappointing," t...

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CEC’s Gavin Rasmussen lines up his stick as the puck bounces in front of him in last week’s matchup against Duluth East at the Heritage Center. Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com

Despite what the line from that old Frank Sinatra tune would have you believe, youth isn't always “wasted on the young.”

After a 5-0 whitewash at the Heritage Center last Thursday against Duluth East that coach Dave Esse called "disappointing," the very thing that may have gotten the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys hockey team in trouble that night worked to its advantage in a Tuesday night win over Hibbing-Chisholm in Cloquet.

That, in a word, was youth.

"I think we were a little overawed against East and we came out flat," Esse said. "But the thing is, when you're young sometimes things happen to you like that but you can also bounce back from it more quickly."

The East game was everything the pre-game hype suggested it wouldn't be - a matchup where the young ’Jacks never got going against the Greyhounds, who led 2-0 after one period, 3-0 after two and outshot CEC 44-24 for the night.

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"It's a difficult atmosphere for young kids to play East in that building, and the good news in that was that we could have been tied 2-2 after two periods,” said Esse. “Gavin Rasmussen had the puck on his stick for a tap-in in that second period and snapped the shaft to his stick."

But while the ’Jacks didn't play to expectations, Esse doesn't believe the final score was reflective of the level of play in the game.

"I don't think they are five goals better than we are, but we did not play well at all and they did," he said. "The odd-man rushes we gave up, the way we played, it wasn't good, but we came back well.”

Esse also modestly faulted himself for a portion of the loss.

"We went in with the mindset of playing four lines and six defensemen and we did that all the way through the game. That was my decision," he said. "I'll take the responsibility for that. I should have shortened the bench when we fell behind, but I was determined to see how players played all the way through the game so that's what we did."

The Lumberjacks rebounded nicely Tuesday night though. Despite surrendering the first goal against the Bluejackets, CEC rebounded with the next five goals, raising its record to 3-2-1 with a 5-1 win. The Lumberjacks outshot their visitors 40-19 for the game.

"They (Hibbing-Chisholm) scored first but we didn't panic, nobody yelled, and we went out and took over the game," Esse said. "I loved how we just got better as the game went on."

Despite not receiving a power play for the entire game, CEC outshot Hibbing-Chisholm 13-4 in the second period and 16-6 in the third. Five different players - Dylan Johnson, Dany Stoyanoff, Trevor Inman, Branden Matteen and Jon Baker - scored for the home team.

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"We got goals from people not on the first line and that's a great sign," Esse said. "There was a lot to be happy about in that game."

CEC hosts Virginia-Mountain Iron-Buhl Thursday night before facing Delano in the first round of the Mars Lakeview Tournament in Duluth Dec. 27. The Lumberjacks reached the finals of that tournament last season.

Related Topics: BOYS HOCKEY
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