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Prep boys hockey: Olson scores twice for East in 8-1 rout of CEC

East scored eight unanswered goals.

high school boys play hockey
Caden Cole (26) of Duluth East checks Lucas Rauner (20) of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton on Thursday, Jan. 19 in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
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CLOQUET — A five-goal third period by Duluth East put an exclamation mark on a dominant 8-1 victory over Lake Superior Conference rival Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, Thursday, Jan. 19, at Northwoods Credit Union Arena.

Sophomore defenseman Brody Olson found the back of the net twice for the Greyhounds for his first two varsity goals of his career.

“It’s a pretty exciting day for him,” East head coach Steve Pitoscia said. “I love to see him just gaining confidence. He’s a great kid and has worked hard all year, and as a young player, it’s just nice to see him gain some confidence.”

Pitoscia came away pleased overall with the team’s effort after an even first period.

“I think we just collectively came together after that first period. We were pretty slow as a group and as the game went on we kind of got better as a group,” Pitoscia said.

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high school boys play hockey
Duluth East players celebrate after scoring a goal against Cloquet-Esko-Carlton on Thursday, Jan. 19 in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

The Greyhounds stared down a one-goal deficit early in the first period when CEC senior forward AJ Kazel used his long reach to force an offensive zone turnover before quickly firing a low shot glove side for the team’s only marker of the game. Jace Stewart picked up the lone assist.

After the even-strength goal, Greyhounds goaltender Kole Kronstedt was perfect the rest of the way in stopping all 15 shots that followed.

high school boys play hockey
Kole Kronstedt (39) of Duluth East makes a stick save against Cloquet-Esko-Carlton on Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

“He came over after that one and took accountability for it and said it was his fault and sorry boys, and we don’t ever really want that, but he’s such a mentally strong goalie,” Pitoscia said. “He doesn't get rattled. He’s done a nice job all year of being ready and focused and not letting those things get to him.”

Sophomore goaltender Sam Panger made his first start in net for the Lumberjacks and was quickly put to the test as the Greyhounds came storming back with quality scoring chances.

high school boys play hockey
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton goaltender Sam Panger (30) makes a save against Duluth East on Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

East ultimately broke through, with Olson finding a shooting lane on the blue line with defensive partner Cole Christian earning the assist.

After the back-and-forth first frame, the Greyhounds had the Lumberjacks on their heels with long stretches in the offensive zone, which led to the team’s second and third goals by Olson and Thomas Gunderson, respectively to take a 3-1 lead into the third period.

The offensive success came as the team began to utilize its speed, according to Pitoscia.

“We moved the puck better in the second period and so we were maybe a little less easy to hit. And we were moving our feet, so we were able to get to those loose pucks,” Pitoscia said. “it may have looked a little bit more physical, but I think it was just a matter of quicker feet, really more than anything.

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The Greyhounds blew the game wide open with a five-goal third period that featured two power play tallies off the stick of Cole Christian, along with a pair of shorthanded goals from Grady Downs and Boden Donovan. Statton Maas scored at even strength.

East will travel to Hopkins for its next game against the Royals, Thursday, Jan. 26. CEC will be back on its home ice, Friday, Jan. 20 to host Holy Angels at 7 p.m.

high school boys play hockey
Cole Painovich (22) of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton tips the puck near Caden Cole (26) of Duluth East on Thursday, Jan. 19 in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
high school boys play hockey
Duluth East goaltender Kole Kronstedt focuses on Ethan Kilichowski (17) of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton as the puck flies towards the goal on Thursday, Jan. 19 in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
high school boys play hockey
Kole Kronstedt (39) of Duluth East makes a stick save against Cloquet-Esko-Carlton on Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
high school boys play hockey
Joey Antonutti (3) controls the puck against Ian Christian (21) of Duluth East on Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
high school boys play hockey
Joey Antonutti (3) of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton holds Noah Teng (4) of Duluth East to the ice as Ian Christian (21) of Duluth East and Patrick Dunaiski (10) of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton compete for the puck on Thursday, Jan. 19 in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
high school boys play hockey
Boden Donovan (22) of Duluth East pushes Joey Antonutti (3) of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton to the ice while competing for the puck on Thursday, Jan. 19 in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
high school boys play hockey
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton goaltender Sam Panger (30) covers the puck with his glove against Duluth East on Thursday, Jan. 19 in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
high school boys play hockey
Makoto Sudoh (8) of Duluth East skates against Hudson Snesrud (12) of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton on Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
high school boys play hockey
Hudson Snesrud (12) of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton blocks a shot from Boden Donovan (22) of Duluth East on Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
high school boys play hockey
Lucas Rauner (20) of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton skates against Henry Murray (10) of Duluth East on Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
high school boys play hockey
Cole Christian (5) of Duluth East skates against Cole Painovich (22) of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton on Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
high school boys play hockey
Brody Olson (6) of Duluth East skates with the puck against Cloquet-Esko-Carlton on Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cloquet.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Jake Przytarski is a reporter for the Cloquet Pine Journal covering a mix of news and sports.
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