Skaters swept in home set
by Tom Coombe
One of Class A hockey’s most prolific scorers couldn’t be contained last weekend.
As a result, Tyler Hennen and Kittson County Central swept two games from the Ely Timberwolves in a season-opening series at the Ely Arena.
Hennen had a whopping eight points in the Bearcats’ 9-5 win on Nov. 25, and the following afternoon he added four goals and two assists in a 7-2 romp.
In less than 24 hours, Hennen racked up 14 points and all but single handedly controlled the series.
Ely, which at times struggled on offense a year ago, managed seven goals in two games but couldn’t match Hennen’s firepower.
The opening game of the series was decided in the second period, when the Bearcats scored twice on the power play in the first four minutes and rattled off six straight goals in a 13-minute span to grab an 8-2 lead.
Ethan Hanson’s slapshot from just inside the blueline broke a two-all deadlock and Hennen fed linemate Hayden Olsonawski on a pretty play to make it 4-2.
The rout was on and the Bearcats struck again with both Hennen and Olsonawski, with Gavin Johnson and Isaac Gustafson adding goals as well.
Ely sophomore Jace Huntbatch scored to slow some of the Bearcats’ momentum, and the Wolves played a better third period with Jakson Hegman and Deegan Richards trimming the KCC lead further and sophomore Ben Leeson slowing some the Bearcats down a bit, stopping 16 of 17 shots.
Leeson came on in relief of senior netminder Ben Cavalier, who finished with 31 saves.
Richards was Ely’s high scorer, getting two goals and a pair of assists in the opener.
Drew Marolt wound up with a goal and two assists, and both Kole Macho and Logan Loe had an assist.
The Wolves never got on track in Saturday’s rematch, despite outshooting the visitors through the first two periods.
Hennen scored five minutes into the game to stake KCC to the lead, and Dana Brown added his first goal of the series, on a Bearcats power play, to make it 2-0 after the opening period.
Olsonawski and Hennen struck 38 seconds apart in the second and the outcome was all but decided.
Ely managed single tallies in the second and third.
Junior Brecken Sandberg scored his first goal of the year midway through the second, getting assists from Loe and Hegman.
It was Huntbatch who scored in the third, with defenseman Wes Sandy adding an assist.
Leeson finished with 36 saves for the Wolves and winning goalie Isaac Lindegard had 26 stops for KCC, which is located in northwestern Minnesota.
Olsonawski had a four-point afternoon and nine overall in the series.
The Wolves are at Ashland (Wisc.) today and return home for a Tuesday (6 p.m.) showdown with section rival North Shore.
• Added to the Wolves’ schedule was a Dec. 13 home date with International Falls, with a 7 p.m. drop of the puck.