Comeback comes up short
ELY HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Front, l-r: Assistant Coach Duane Lossing, Peyton Gregory, Jon Schlosser, Ben Leeson, Sam Leeson, Ben Cavalier; Middle, l-r: Assistant Coach Tim Hegman, Logan Loe, Jakson Hegman, Chase Anderson, Tommy Homer, Ty Walker, Wes Sandy, Kole Macho, Jace Huntbatch, Head Coach Jake Myers; Back, l-r: Deegan Richards, Garrett Rohr, Blake Schaller, Brecken Sandberg, Drew Marolt, Kadein Zupancich, Alex Merriman, Brady Eaton
Down 5-0, the Wolves scare North Shore but fall by a goal
by Tom Coombe
It would have been an epic comeback. One for the ages.
Trailing 5-0 midway through the second period, the Ely Timberwolves rose from the ashes and put a scare into North Shore Saturday afternoon at Silver Bay.
Four straight Ely goals had the Storm reeling and the Wolves within one as the second period came to a close in the Section 7A playoff opener.
But intermission came just in time for the hosts, who recovered and held off the Wolves in the final period and held on for a 5-4 victory.
Ely, which finished 8-18, was hoping to get to the 7A quarterfinal round for the first time since 2019.
The Wolves, seeded ninth, had high hopes against the eighth-seeded Storm after two close regular season defeats.
North Shore looked to douse those hopes early on and build a 3-0 lead after the first period.
In the second, the Storm first scored on the power play and Jake Stadler’s shorthanded tally appeared to be a backbreaker.
North Shore led 5-0 and Ely seemed out on its feet.
The Wolves, however, had other ideas.
Senior Logan Loe got the visitors on the board midway through the frame and all of a sudden Ely caught fire.
Drew Marolt scored on the power play to trim the lead and Jakson Hegman tipped one in to make it 5-3.
With a minute-and-a-half left, Kole Macho trimmed the gap to one and an Ely rally seemed well on its way.
The Wolves caught a break late in the second period when a potential sixth North Shore goal hit a pipe and the teams went to the locker room in a tight game.
North Shore regrouped between periods and Ely chances were minimal in the final period.
The Wolves’ best chance came with about three minutes left and it proved to be their last.
Ely was unable to pull goaltender Ben Cavalier to gain an extra attacker, and the Storm controlled the puck for much of the last two minutes.
The Wolves managed only six shots on goal in the final period, and none in the last three minutes.
Marolt, Jace Huntbatch, Chase Anderson, Alex Merriman and Wes Sandy all had assists for the Wolves, and Cavalier recorded 30 saves in his final game in an Ely uniform.
Stadler had two goals and an assist for the Storm, who were blasted 15-1 by top-seeded Hermantown in a Tuesday quarterfinal.
Both Cole Anderson and Ayden Ahthaus had three-point afternoons as well for North Shore, and netminder Zach Bentler made 21 stops.
The loss ended an up-and-down year for the Wolves.
Ely recorded eight wins but was competitive in most of its 18 defeats.
Seniors who finished their prep hockey careers were Cavalier, Loe, Hegman and Macho.
Deegan Richards finished with a team-high 46 points for the Wolves, with Marolt getting 38 and Macho 34.
• In Thursday’s 7A semifinals, completed after deadline, Hermantown met Hibbing while Rock Ridge tangled with Duluth Denfeld.
The 7A title game is set for Wednesday at Duluth’s AMSOIL Arena.