Skaters come close on home ice

BATTLE IN FRONT OF THE BENCH - Ely’s Austin Meskill (5) looked to take the puck from an Eveleth-Gilber player right in front of Ely’s bench as coaches Jake Myers and Ben Johnson and the Wolves’ Jackson Flom and Isaac Gawboy look on. Photo by Eric Sherman

by Tom Coombe -

They’ve yet to taste victory, but the Ely Timberwolves are inching closer.
The high school hockey team fell 7-6 to May-Port (N.D.) in a Dec. 7 clash at the Ely Arena, while a 7-1 defeat to Eveleth-Gilbert Tuesday night could be termed a moral victory of sorts.
The powerful Golden Bears, who have hopes of moving into the top four of Section 7A, scored 15 goals against Ely a year ago.
This time around, the Wolves were more competitive despite being outshot 56-17.
Freshman goalie Chase Sandberg had 49 stops, including 23 in the first period as the Golden Bears (5-2) built a 2-0 lead.
Will Troutwine had two unassisted goals in the opening stanza for the winners, while E-G put the game away with three more goals in the second.
Josh James added two third-period goals as the game went into running time, but Ely’s Luke Olson put the Wolves on the board in the final period.
The junior got assists from Nick Mattila and Seann Prigge to avoid the shutout.
Winning goalie Baylee Grahek had 15 saves.
May-Port 7, Wolves 6
The Ice Dawgs’ Sammy Samtrom had five goals, including the game-winner with 1:06 left, to cap a wild back-and-forth affair.
Ely trailed 5-2 and 6-4 but battled back, tying the contest with 7:11 left in the third on Mattila’s third goal of the evening.
May-Port countered with the game winner, and goaltender Kade Susie was up to the task, stopping 27 shots.
Goals by Olson and Mattila, both assisted by Jason Skube, put the Wolves up 2-1 early in the game.
May-Port countered next, scoring four straight times to grab a three-goal edge at the end of the period.
Three of the scores came in a four-minute span to end the period.
Olson and senior Austin Meskill scored in the second frame, with Meskill’s tally slashing the gap to 5-4.
That set the stage for the final period and the Ice Dawgs’ game-winner.
Samtrom was in on all but one of the May-Port goals, while Olson had two goals and two assists for the Wolves.
Mattila had a four-point night to go with his hat trick and Skube recorded a season-high three assists.
North Shore 6, Wolves 2
Ely put a scare into the stronger, deeper Storm, who needed a third-period surge to put away the Dec. 6 game at Two Harbors.
It was 1-0 after one period but the Wolves tied it early in the second on Mattila’s first goal of the year.
Momentum soon shifted after an Ely penalty and the Storm scored on the power play, with sophomore Ryder McMillen making it 2 -1.
That’s how it stood going into the third period, but freshman Will Olson scored a backbreaking goal just over a minute into the frame.
The Wolves never recovered and North Shore would add three more goals.
As he did in the second, Mattila got asissts from linemates Olson and Meskill to close the gap to 6-2.
Housey started in nets and finished with 25 saves for Ely.
Cole Komarek had three assists for North Shore.
• The Wolves played at Moose Lake Friday and have another long trip Dec. 21, when they meet Lake of the Woods.