Let’s add Cloquet-Esko-Carlton to our list of elite northeastern Minnesota high school boys hockey teams to watch this season, joining Duluth East, Hermantown and Greenway. Superior is also a team on the rise.
The Jacks skated to a 6-6 overtime tie against the No. 2-2A Greyhounds last Thursday night in Cloquet. No. 14-2A CEC appeared to pull off a major upset when Branden Matteen scored with 15 seconds remaining in regulation, but East’s Brendan Baker answered with a goalmouth goal with four seconds to play.
The Greyhounds out-shot the Jacks 47-21.
Cloquet exploded to a 2-0 lead in the first period, as Kade Bender and Landon Langenbrunner scored power-play goals.
The Greyhounds responded with four unanswered goals starting with defenseman Frederick Hunter Paine’s goal late in the opening period, followed by second-period goals by seniors Garret Worth, Ian Mageau and Luke LaMaster.
Nick Lanigan also scored for Duluth East, and Langenbrunner and Bender collected their second goals of the game as CEC rallied and led on Matteen’s goal in the third period.
Owen Carlson had 41 saves for CEC (4-3-1). Parker Kleive and Lukan Hanson combined for 15 saves for the Greyhounds.
The Duluth East-CEC rematch is Feb. 5 in Duluth.
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Duluth East will play host to No. 6-2A Centennial at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Essentia Duluth Heritage Center.
The Cougars (5-0-1), who defeated the Greyhounds 4-2 in their only meeting a year ago, are led by 6-foot-2 senior forward Carter Wagner, who has six goals and 14 points.
Super-sniper Worth leads Duluth East scorers with seven goals and 12 points. Ryder Donovan also has 12 points (2 goals), and Mageau and LaMaster have 10 points each.
Goaltending remains a concern for the Greyhounds. Parker is 1-0-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .891 saves percentage, including one shutout. Hanson is 2-0-1, 3.05 and .845.
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Hermantown plays host to nonconference Thief River Falls at 6 p.m. Friday.
The Hawks (1-3-2) have played a brutally tough schedule against top 2A teams.
Hermantown is led by senior forwards Jacob Herter, Tyler Watkins and Brandon Schmidt. Sophomore forward Blake Biondi, a Bulldogs recruit, has five goals and 11 points.
1A Thief River Falls (2-5-1) has lost three of its last four games.