Prep boys hockey: Olson scores twice for East in 8-1 rout of CEC
East scored eight unanswered goals.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.