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Skaters rebound at home

The eighth annual Duluth Wounded Warriors versus the Ely Rusty Blades game was played on Saturday night. “Our teams had the greatest experience last night and the previous seven trips we done with your community! Looking forward to the next one,” said Jim Kmecik of the Duluth Warriors. “As a Disabled Veteran hockey player I want to say how much I enjoy coming up to Ely every year to play against the Rusty Blades and Chix with Stix! Thanks to all who came out and enjoyed some hockey and cheered last night!” Pictured in front are Chase Sandberg and Chad Daniels; Middle row: Dan Johnson, Steve Samuelson, Brett Jelinek, Matt Gerzin, Todd West, Patrick Russell, Dan Olson, Jeff Dwyer, Gage Merhar, Duane Lossing, Quinn Vidas; back row: Referees Blake Schaller, Kadein Zupancich, Brian Black, Anthony Bermel, Mike Lebsack, Nick Matilla, Mack Lautigar, Jamie Lautigar, Gage Johnson, Mike Irish, Andy Krunkala, Rawley Crow, Max Knoer, Nick Cossalter, Jakson Hegman, Craig Purcell, Timmy Hegman, Josh Hanninen, Frank Udovich, Tony Harding and Nick Bailles.

Marolt, Rohr score twice as Wolves upend Ashland 6-2


by Tom Coombe

Ely’s high school hockey team is proving to be a resilient group.

Less than 24 hours after a tough loss, and with a five-hour bus ride in between, the Timberwolves shook off fatigue and heavy legs to record an impressive home win.

It was even more impressive considering the Wolves logged better than 20 minutes of penalties in the second period, and still managed to hold off Ashland 6-2 in a Saturday afternoon tilt at the Ely Arena.

Drew Marolt’s first goal of the game was the biggest, a shorthanded tally that seemed to deflate the visiting Oredockers and send the Wolves on their 11th win of the winter, against only four defeats.

The victory came after a Friday  night, 4-2 loss at Bagley, when the Wolves encountered snowy conditions on the way home and didn’t arrive back in Ely until the wee hours of the morning.

Ely showed few ill effects against the Oredockers and jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the opening period.

Two of the goals were by junior Garrett Rohr, including a power play blast from the left circle.

Senior Deegan Richards got the Wolves on the board less than two minutes into the contest, poking in a rebound and getting assists from Owen Marolt and Jayden Zemke.

Ely had the three-goal advantage heading into the second period when senior Brecken Sandberg scored on a wrap-around and threatened to turn the game into a rout.

Ashland, however, got new life with a five-on-three power play and the visitors got on the board when Peter Fanchi went up high to drive the puck past Ely goalie Ben Leeson.

The Oredockers would have more power play chances in the period including another five-on-three, but they were never able to close the gap.

Marolt, who has a team-high 18 goals and 28 total points, got the backbreaker.

With Ashland on the power play, the Wolves got control of the puck.

Marolt got behind the Oredockers’ defense, took a feed from Richards in stride and scored to make it 5-1.

As the period wound down Marolt scored again and Ely took a commanding edge into the final period.

The Wolves may have finally tired in the third, as Ashland racked up 22 shots on goal.

Only one got past Leeson and the Wolves emerged with the win.

Leeson recorded 40 saves in the game while two Oredockers netminders combined for 26.

Marolt and Rohr finished with two goals each, while both Richards and Sandberg wound up with a goal and an assist.

Also notching assists were Zemke, Tommy Homer, Jace Huntbatch, Owen Marolt and Leeson.

• Ely racked up a 43-25 edge in shots on goal at Bagley, but had trouble putting the puck in the net in a 4-2 loss.

The Flyers’ Cole Johnson scored twice in the middle period as Bagley took a 2-0 lead, while Ely collected 25 shots without a goal in the first two periods.

Richards broke the ice, with an assist from Drew Marolt, and Ely closed the gap to 2-1 early in the third.

The Wolves peppered winning goalie Kyle Johnson, who wound up with 41 stops, but couldn’t get the equalizer.

Bagley scored twice in the final  five minutes to close things out, although Ely also scored as Wes Sandy lit the lamp with an assist from Sandberg.

Leeson recorded 21 saves for the Wolves, while Dakota Erickson and Gage Gunderson also scored for the Flyers.

The two teams will play again Jan. 26 at Babbitt, in the Wolves’ only home game at the Babbitt Arena this season.

• The Wolves were at Lake of the Woods Friday and host the Bears the following Friday, Jan. 19, in Ely.

Also coming up are key section games, both on the road, with Int. Falls (Jan. 16) and Proctor (Jan. 23).

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