Playoffs next for Ely skaters

Hoping for repeat of 2019 magic, Wolves go to Proctor today

by Tom Coombe
Can lightning strike for the second time in as many years?
Could the third time be the charm?
Those are the questions hovering over the Ely Timberwolves today, as they open the Section 7A hockey playoffs at Proctor.
It was 52 weeks ago today that the Wolves stunned the hockey world and heavily favored International Falls, beating the Broncos for the first time in school history and recording an improbable playoff win.
The odds may be even more daunting this year.
Ely, which finished the regular season 3-15, is seeded 10th in the 10-team section just as it was a year ago.
But this year, the Wolves have the youngest team in the state and haven’t been competitive against the seventh-seeded Rails.
Proctor (10-14) beat the Wolves 14-3 in a holiday tournament encounter on the North Shore and cruised to a 10-1 victory Jan. 21 in Ely.
The third meeting comes today in Proctor’s new rink - the St. Luke’s Center - with a 5 p.m. game time.
The winner advances to meet second-seeded Duluth Denfeld in a Tuesday 7A quarterfinal at Duluth’s Heritage Center.
Hermantown, fueled in part by former Ely Timberwolf Joey Pierce, has the top-seed in 7A and is favored to move on to the state tournament next month at St. Paul.
Moose Lake 5, Ely 3
The Wolves outshot the Rebels 40-27 in the Feb. 7 matchup at Moose Lake, but penalties were costly.
Ely was penalized seven times in the game, and the Rebels scored twice with the man advantage in the opening period to take a 3-0 lead.
Paxton Vogel scored twice in 60 seconds to stake his team to a three-goal advantage and the Wolves had to play catch-up the rest of the way.
It was 4-0 after two frames before the Wolves caught fire in the third.
Jimmy Zupancich, Kole Macho and Luke Olson scored, but it was too-little, too-late as the Rebels held on for the win.
Goaltender Henry Dammer made 37 stops for the Rebels, who beat the Wolves for the third time in as many chances this winter.
Jordan Fjosne had a goal and three assists while Vogel had an assist to go with his two goals.
Olson, the Wolves’ top scorer had two assists and Zupancich was in on all three goals - with a goal and two assists.
Ben Cavalier and Chase Sandberg combined to make 22 saves for the Wolves.