North Shore cools Ely down; SPJ swept in Ely and Babbitt
by Tom Coombe
After gaining momentum over the weekend, Ely’s high school hockey team stalled Monday in Silver Bay.
The result was a 5-3 loss to North Shore and a defeat that seemed to derail the Timberwolves’ hopes for a home playoff game next week.
Ely, now 8-15, likely needed a victory over the Storm to move into the top-eight and gain home ice for the Feb. 18 play-in round.
Instead, the Wolves seem likely to go on the road for either a rematch with the Storm or a visit to International Falls.
Final seeding will be determined later in the week.
Ely lost by just one goal to the Storm in December and the Wolves struck first Monday, with sophomore Garrett Rohr’s second goal of the Storm.
Ely outshot the hosts in the opening frame, but the Storm came back with a pair of goals to take a 2-1 lead after one.
Senior Logan Loe tied the contest six minutes into the second, but North Shore took advantage of Ely penalties to take control of the game.
Ayden Althaus scored his second goal of the game midway through the frame, and it was on a North Shore power play.
Another power play goal, this one by Ethan Meeks, gave the Storm a 4-2 lead going into the third.
Ely slashed the gap to one on Jakson Hegman’s power play goal at 4:18 of the third, but the Wolves were never able to get the equalizer.
Jacob Carpenter scored an empty-netter with 45 seconds left to finish the Wolves off.
Senior goalie Ben Cavalier had 41 saves in the defeat, and Tommy Homer, Brecken Sandberg, Deegan Richards, Kole Macho and Jace Huntbatch all had assists.
Jake Stadler had a four-point game for the Storm and goaltender Zach Bentler recorded 34 stops.
Ely was coming off a weekend sweep of St. Paul Johnson, starting with a 6-3, Feb. 3 win at the Ely Arena and following up Saturday afternoon in Babbitt, where the Wolves prevailed 8-3.
In Saturday’s contest, held at chilly Ron Castellano Arena, Ely juniors Drew Marolt and Deegan Richards combined for seven of the eight goals.
The Governors jumped to a 2-0 lead within two minutes of the contest and it was 3-1 five minutes into the game.
Ely caught fire later in the period, with Richards scoring back-to-back goals and Marolt adding what proved to be the game-winner at the nine-minute mark.
Marolt had the only goal of the second frame and the Wolves put things away with three goals in the final frame including one by Wes Sandy, who was playing on his home ice in Babbitt.
Marolt finished with four goals and an assist, while Richards had a six-point afternoon.
Sandy added an assist, as did Macho, Kadein Zupancich, Jon Schlosser, and Alex Merriman.
Cavalier had 36 saves en route to the victory.
In the opening game, Cavalier made 19 saves to post the win and Ely jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the opening period to take control of things.
Macho, Rohr and Marolt all scored first-period goals.
St. Paul Johnson’s Joacquin Ochocki made things interesting in the second period, scoring twice to bring his team within a goal, but Richards answered back.
Richards, who had hat tricks in both games of the series, scored to make it 4-2 and he added two third-period tallies - including an empty-netter at the end.
Sandy recorded three assists for the Wolves, and Zupancich finished with two. Loe and Homer both had assists.
• The Wolves met Moose Lake Friday in their final regular season home appearance.
• The regular season finale is set for today, on the road, with a 2 p.m. game at Mora