Skaters start with a sweep
by Tom Coombe
A never-ending barrage of shots led to a slew of goals - including five from senior Drew Marolt - and Ely’s high school hockey team started its season with two wins.
The Timberwolves swept a two-game set in Hallock, Minn., downing Kittson County Central 6-2 and 5-1 in the northwest corner of the state over Thanksgiving weekend
Ely (2-0) is off to its best start in several years - and the Wolves displayed experience, depth and plenty of offense during the two-game series.
Marolt had the hat trick in the Nov. 24 season-opener, while junior goalie Ben Leeson played all six frames and allowed only three goals during the course of the weekend.
The Wolves also were relentless with their attack, according to head coach Jake Myers.
“Our fore check was effective and we did a really good job of pushing pucks to the net,” said Myers. “We overwhelmed them with shots throughout the weekend.”
Overall, Ely had 110 shots on goal during the series, with 54 in the opening game and 56 on Saturday.
“The goal was to get as many pucks on net as we can and crash,” said Myers.
Junior Garrett Rohr broke the ice, so to speak, scoring two minutes into the first period as Ely led 1-0 while outshooting the hosts 17-5.
That set the tone for the weekend as senior Deegan Richards scored twice in the second period, and Marolt got his first.
Ely took a 4-1 lead into the third and Marolt completed the hat trick with goals three minutes apart.
Richard led the offense with a five-point night, adding three assists, while senior Ty Walker had two assists with Rohr, Jace Huntbatch, Sean Merriman and Jayden Zemke all getting one.
Leeson recorded 18 saves.
Morgan Muir and Wyatt Samuelson scored for the Bearcats and goalie Isaac Lindegarde made 48 saves.
Ely erupted early on Saturday, scoring four times in the first period to take control of the contest.
Senior Chase Anderson’s first goal of the year came on the power play and broke a one-all deadlock.
Next came Marolt and Rohr with goals two minutes apart and Ely led 4-1 after the first period.
Junior Brady Eaton scored his first goal of the season in the second period, and the Wolves overcame five penalties in that frame as the Bearcats couldn’t cash in on power play chances.
Neither team scored in the third and Leeson finished with 20 saves.
Marolt scored two goals and had an assist, while Richards, Walker, Zemke, Alex Merriman and Mason Kurnava all recorded assists.
Jameson Turner had 51 saves for the hosts and Samuelson had their only goal.
The series marked a turnaround for the Wolves, who were swept last year by the Bearcats.
With five goals in two games, Marolt put himself near the top of the state scoring ranks in the first week of play.
Next up for the Wolves is a two-game series on home ice, with Mora here for contest both Friday night and Saturday.
“Mora will be a tougher opponent,” said Myers “We will need to put pucks on net and do a better job of staying out of the penalty box. That’s something we struggled with at Kittson. We will need to have better discipline.”
The Wolves also go to Silver Bay Tuesday, taking on North Shore in both junior varsity and varsity action, with the varsity game set for 7 p.m.
It will be Ely’s first JV game in several years.