Hockey Day Minnesota: Cloquet/Esko/Carlton rallies for 4-1 win over Lourdes

Rochester Lourdes (purple jerseys) takes on Cloquet/Esko/Carlton during a Hockey Day Minnesota game at Handke Pit in Elk River on Saturday.

ELK RIVER — For more than two periods, Rochester Lourdes played exactly the type of game it needed to play to have success on Hockey Day Minnesota.

The Eagles needed a low-scoring game and they held Cloquet/Esko/Carlton scoreless for nearly 40 minutes. Then the Lumberjacks capitalized on a pair of power-play opportunities and opened the floodgates to rally to beat Lourdes 4-1 in the opening game of Hockey Day Minnesota at Handke Pit.

"We got to the third with no score, we thought we could probably pull it off," Lourdes coach Josh Spaniol said, "but a couple bounces here and there, we didn't get. It is what it is. We have to stay out of the box, but it didn't make or break us, I don't think."

The game, which was televised regionally on Fox Sports North and nationally on Fox Sports 2, started at 10:15 a.m., with temperatures approaching 20 and no wind affecting play, as the rink sits in a natural bowl created by glaciers.

The Lumberjacks outshot the Eagles 23-9 through two periods (and 29-11 for the game), but Lourdes' starting goalie Jack Burkel was up to the task. He stopped all 23 shots he faced in his two periods of work, including a flashy glove save on a breakaway by Cloquet's Halen Danielson.


"Jack was awesome," Spaniol said. "He just comes ready to play every day, he's square to the puck and always ready to go."

Burkel, like most players from both teams, wore eye black to help his vision on a bright morning. He played in the goal on the west end of the rink in the opening period and battled the sun in his eyes for the first 17 minutes of the game.

"In my head I tried to picture it as just another hockey game," Burkel said, "but seeing all the people outside and the sun in your eyes, it definitely made a difference when the shooters were coming down, shooting on me ... the ice was about the same, it got a little snowy, but moving around on it was pretty much the same."

Lourdes scored first, just 1:45 into the third period, when C/E/C attempted to clear the zone, but Lourdes' Tyler Veherenkamp held the puck in at the blue line. He fed it to Peter Alexander in the right circle and he beat Lumberjacks goalie Zackery Jones with a hard wrist shot short-side.

That was all the offense the Eagles (3-12-1) could muster, though.

The Lumberjacks (6-10-2) then scored a pair of power-play goals 3:23 apart to take a permanent lead, with Ryan Lind tying the score at 5:52 and Jack Kuhlman's tally at 9:15 of the third period holding up as the game-winning goal.

James Newgren added a pair of goals, including an empty-netter, in the final 5:13, to help C/E/C pull away.

"I wish we'd have had a different outcome, of course, maybe get a couple different bounces, but it was all-around a great day and a great experience for the boys," Spaniol said. "It wasamazing, they loved it. Just a nice atmosphere, a great place to be, just an awesome day."


Lourdes is back in action Tuesday when it plays host to Section 1A rival Red Wing at 7 p.m. at Graham Arena I.

In other Hockey Day games at Handke Pit, the Elk River boys defended their home "pit" and beat Stillwater 4-1, and the Anoka girls beat Elk River/Zimmerman 3-0.

C/E/C 4, Lourdes 1



Rochester Lourdes: Peter Alexander 1 goal; Tyler Vehrenkamp 1 assist; Jack Burkel 23 saves; Aaron Van Galder 2 saves.

Cloquet/Esko/Carlton: James Newgren 2 goals; Dylan Johnson 2 assists; Koby Bender 2 assists; Christian Pritchett 1 assist; Ryan Lind 1 goal; Jack Kuhlman 1 goal; Zackery Strom 10 saves.


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