Skaters progress in defeat

by Tom Coombe
Progress can be measured in baby steps for the Ely Timberwolves.
The youngest high school hockey team in Minnesota lost twice in as many contests, but there were signs of improvement from a team that is now 1-10 for the winter.
Proctor downed the Wolves 10-1 Tuesday at the Ely Arena, but it was a 1-0 game through one period and just 3-0 at the midway mark of the second.
Four days earlier, the Wolves were competitive with Red Lake Falls for much of a 10-4 defeat.
Senior Luke Olson, who has a team-high 23 goals including an eight-goal outburst in the Wolves’ only win this winter, had the only goal against Proctor and tallied twice against Red Lake Falls.
Earlier this season, Proctor demolished the Wolves in a 14-3 holiday tournament rout.
The rematch in Ely was much more competitive.
The Rails (9-9) outshot the Wolves 11-5 in the frame and got the only goal at the six-and-a-half minute mark.
Jack Bartlam made it 2-0 two minutes into the second, and the Rails held that edge until exploding late in the frame, putting the game away with three more scores.
Proctor sent the game into running time in the final period, but Olson broke the shutout after a feed from fellow senior Seann Prigge, who leads Ely in assists.
Goaltender Cody Urie finished with 14 saves for the winners, while sophomore netminder Chase Sandberg of Ely was peppered for much of the night and wound up with 36 stops.
Reece Ward had two goals and two assists for Proctor while Dylan Haala had a three-point game with a goal and two assists.
The Wolves had no answer to Red Lake Falls’ top line in a Jan. 17 date at the Ely Arena, as high-scoring forward Ty Kennett had four goals and three assists in the Eagles’ win.
It was 3-1 in favor of the visitors after the opening period, with Kennett scoring twice - in a 47-second span - to put his team on top 2-0.
Dalton Schreffler’s goal closed the gap to 2-1, but the Eagles responded late in the period with a backbreaker.
It was 5-1 when the Wolves made a mini-run, closing the gap in half with second-period goals by both Olson and Schreffler.
That was as close as it would get and the Eagles, who had a 38-16 shot advantage, sent the game into running time midway through the third.
Prigge had two assists for the Wolves, while Olson, Jimmy Zupancich and Jackson Flom all had assists.
Winning goalie Brendan Larson made 12 saves and Sandberg had 28 for the Wolves.
Ely is in the midst of its longest road trip of the year, which started with Friday’s game at Bagley and continues today against May-Port (N.D.).
The Wolves host Bagley Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in a two-game set in town and close out the home docket Feb. 4, against North Shore.