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Park's Alex Kielsa and East Ridge's Nick Leach battle in the two teams' head-to-head game last Thursday.
Park's Alex Kielsa and East Ridge's Nick Leach battle in the two teams' head-to-head game last Thursday.

Park boys hockey: Special teams play plagues Wolfpack

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sports Cottage Grove, 55016

Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

Special teams problems continued to plague Park last Thursday in a 4-2 loss to district intra-district and Suburban East Conference rival East Ridge at Cottage Grove Ice Arena.

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The Wolfpack (2-13-1, 1-8-1 SEC) took four penalties in the game and gave up power-play goals on two of them as the Raptors (8-8-2, 4-5-2 SEC) earned a season sweep of the series.

Luke Ringhofer scored a pivotal goal on the power play in the second period to tie the game for East Ridge and Derek Hammer added another power-play goal at 7 minutes, 20 seconds into the third period to give the Raptors a 3-2 lead.

Nick Leach added an insurance goal at 16:41, four seconds after Park had killed off its fourth penalty of the game.

"We don't necessarily take a lot of penalties," Wolfpack head coach Jay Moser said. "We can't take hardly any if we want to be successful. Right now our penalty kill just isn't cutting it."

Park fell behind 1-0 after the first period where East Ridge fired off 13 shots on goal and held the Wolfpack to four. Ryan McDonough got the game's first goal at 6:43 for the Raptors.

But Park found a way to rally and went up 2-1 in the second period on goals from Chris Peterson and Alex Kielsa. The Wolfpack put 11 shots on goal in the period and Moser liked how the team responded from a lackluster first period.

"It was a great second," Moser said. "It's just disheartening to play that well in the second and not come out on top."

Not only did Park respond in that second period, it killed off a 5-minute major and a 5-on-3 power play to still take a brief lead.

Jack Greeley and Jacob Nickloff each had two assists for East Ridge. Hammer and Leach finished with a goal and an assist apiece as well.

Matthew Palmquist made 33 saves in goal for the Wolfpack in the loss.

Rosemount overwhelms Park in 7-3 victory

Rosemount's Lukas Gillett presented a problem Park couldn't solve Tuesday as he scored four goals, including three in the second period to lead the Irish to a 7-3 victory.

The Wolfpack grabbed a 1-0 lead 56 seconds into the game when Jacob Garr scored, but after that it was all Rosemount. The Irish responded with two goals -- a shorthanded goal from Luke Mead and a goal from Zach Bichler -- to take a 2-1 lead.

Then Gillett took over in the second period. Gillett started the scoring at 8:35 of the second period and added two goals that came 13 seconds apart as the Rosemount lead swelled to 5-1.

Alex Kiesla made it 5-2 with a goal at 13:14 with assists from Eric Stoffel and Chris Peterson for Park.

The Wolfpack made it interesting in the third period when Cody Newton scored 21 seconds into the period on an assist from Stoffel to cut the lead to 5-3, but Gillett struck again 46 seconds later and Evan Weiand put home a shorthanded goal for the 7-3 final.

Park gave up two shorthanded goals and went 0-for-5 on the power play.

"I thought we played well and just couldn't score on our opportunities," Moser said. "Rosemount was opportunistic and took advantage of their chances."

Hastings holds on

Hastings and Park combined for nine goals in the third period Saturday at Hastings Civic Arena, but the Raiders held on for an 8-5 win over the Wolfpack.

Three goals came 21 seconds apart in the third period when Blake Berg scored for Hastings at 8:56. Stoffel scored nine seconds later for Park and Zach Mellick put a goal away 12 seconds after Stoffel's goal.

Nick Gamache pulled the Wolfpack within one goal at the 12:45 mark of the third but the Raiders added two more goals to pull away.

"I'm kind of torn because we scored five goals, which is quite a feat for us," Moser said.

Park had only scored five or more goals twice this season prior to the game.

Wolfpack goaltender Kyle Strand played an impressive game and kept his team in it, especially in the first period. The Raiders (9-6-1, 6-4 SEC) peppered Strand with 21 shots in the first period to grab a 3-0 lead. Strand finished with 30 saves on 38 shots.

"I've never seen a goalie play as well as Strand did and still give up seven," Moser said. "We just didn't have any support for him in those situations."

Despite giving up three goals in the first period Park found a way to get back in it. Dylan Radke scored at the 6:13 mark of the second period to cut it to 3-1. The Wolfpack tallied 16 shots in the period and gained some momentum for the third period.

Patrick McCarthy made it a one-goal game with a tally 1:34 into the third period, but Hastings responded with a goal at 2:57 to maintain a two-goal lead. Garr made it a one-goal game again at 6:13 before the scoring outburst started.

Five different players scored a goal for Park with McCarthy tallying a goal and two assists. Radke finished with a goal and an assist and Garr had a goal and an assist.

Mark Huneke led the Raiders with two goals and Matt Koch had four assists.

"Every time we scored we let them come back and score," Moser said. "Defensively I was disappointed and offensively I was pleased."

Park takes on Roseville Thursday in Roseville and No. 19 Stillwater Saturday in Cottage Grove.

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