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Rebels gain ground with experience

It's been a long trek for the Moose Lake Area boys hockey team this winter, but coach Lee Costley is seeing improved play from his young team. The Rebels (2-11-0) played games on back-to-back nights last weekend -- and unfortunately for them, the...

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Moose Lake Area sophomore Vern Anderson brings the puck up the ice as Proctor defenseman Van Johnson moves to intercept in Saturday's 8-2 Rebel loss. Matthew Moses/news@pinejournal.com

It’s been a long trek for the Moose Lake Area boys hockey team this winter, but coach Lee Costley is seeing improved play from his young team.

The Rebels (2-11-0) played games on back-to-back nights last weekend - and unfortunately for them, the Saturday game was against Proctor. The Rails beat the Rebels 8-2 at Riverside Arena but Costley was proud of how his team played.

“The night before we played a very tough game against Becker (a 4-3 overtime loss), and the next afternoon we get Proctor, which is a good team, and we had a short bench,” Costley said. “We went up and down with Proctor but they scored and we didn’t score as much.”

Costley traces his team’s progress to the second period of the team’s first holiday tournament game, a 6-2 loss to Rice Lake.

“The kids spent some time figuring out who Rice Lake had played and who we had played and who beat who by how much, and then they were up 5-0 on us in the first period,” he said. “But we won the last two periods and the kids started to buy in to some things.”

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The next day, Moose Lake defeated Legacy Christian 7-1 in the consolation bracket. Both the team’s wins have come at the Lions’ expense.

But this time, the Rebels played three solid periods. The first time the teams met, the Rebels lost a third-period lead before rallying for a 7-6 win.

“Everything clicked with the kids about backchecking and being physical and limiting shots,” Costley said. “Running time was nice for the kids but I don’t like to either get beat in running time or beat someone that way. Sometimes things can get out of control but Legacy is a well coached and well disciplined team that’s a class act to play against.”

But against the Rails, there weren’t quite as many answers. Jordan Fjosne’s goal at 10:21 of the first period tied the game 1-1 but the Rails scored twice in the next 1:12 to take a 3-1 lead they wouldn’t lose. Mike Knezeivich scored in the third period for the Rebels.

“We’re still starting to see the things we need to see,” Costley said. “The kids are starting to realize that they can play with good teams if they do the right things. They knew they came out flat against Rice Lake but they outplayed that team after the first period.”

Costley said that the team’s commitment to the small things will eventually pay dividends.

“They get ready to come to work,” he said. “They have had better focus. On the holiday trip, the bus ride and the hotel takes them out of their routine, and sometimes kids can forget why they’re up there. The fun stuff comes after you’ve won. Once they figured that out, it has started to come together a little bit.”

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Related Topics: BOYS HOCKEY
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