Park boys hockey: Wolfpack’s season ends at EaganTwo-time defending section champion Eagan had little trouble getting past eighth-seeded Park Thursday in a 5-0 victory in Eagan.
By: Nick Gerhardt, South Washington County Bulletin
Two-time defending section champion Eagan had little trouble getting past eighth-seeded Park Thursday in a 5-0 victory in Eagan.
The fourth-ranked Wildcats (23-3-1) outshot the Wolfpack (5-20-1) at better than a 2-to-1 ratio and built a 5-0 lead after the second period.
Eagan came out in the first period to outshoot Park 16-4 and got goals from Jack Jenson and Kyle Stebbing to go up 2-0.
Josh Loew scored twice in the second period and Tommy Muck added a goal.
Jesse Gabrielle finished with four assists while Loew had four points for the top-seeded Wildcats, who moved on to face fourth-seeded East Ridge in the Section 3AA semifinals.
Eagan finished with 48 shots on goal and went 0-for-8 on the power play. Its top line of Cullen Willox, Nick Smallidge and Zach Glienke did not record a point.
Park had 21 shots on goal and finished 0-for-7 on the power play in the season-ending loss.
Kyle Strand made 43 saves in net for the Wolfpack in the loss.
Prior to falling to Eagan, Park tied a season-high with six goals Tuesday in a 6-2 victory over Woodbury to begin the Section 3AA playoffs at Cottage Grove Ice Arena.
The Wolfpack faced the ninth-seeded Royals (6-17-3) Feb. 14 in the regular season finale and picked up a 2-1 victory in Cottage Grove. Park beat Woodbury three times this season.
Cody Newton and Eric Stoffel had two goals apiece while Nick Moser and Jacob Garr added goals.
“We were just fortunate to capitalize on the chances that they didn’t,” Wolfpack head coach Jay Moser said. “I think that was the difference and our guys got some confidence early.”
Stoffel put Park up 1-0 with a power-play goal at 11 minutes, 45 seconds of the first period. Woodbury rallied back to tie it with a goal from Ford Pendleton at 14:26.
The Royals took four penalties in the period and gave up a power-play goal.
“We didn’t really give ourselves much of a chance by taking so many penalties in the first period,” Woodbury head coach Wes Bolin said. “I thought the calls didn’t go our way and that was frustrating.”
But goals from Moser and Garr put the Wolfpack up 3-1 and breathed some life into Park. Moser scored with 2:15 left in the period on a rebound from a shot from Chris Peterson. Moser crashed into Royals goalie Austen Macalus and the puck trickled past the goal line. Garr added a goal with 1:42 left off a rebound. The Wolfpack finished the period with a 15-6 shot advantage and tallied 35 shots on goal for the game.
The momentum from the flurry near the end of the first period continued into the second period for Park when Stoffel notched his second goal of the game 31 seconds into the period.
Woodbury came back to life in the second period to cut the lead to 4-2 at 8:46 with a goal from Jordan Graham, but that’s as much as the Royals got the rest of the way.
“We had a lot of great scoring chances, we just didn’t get enough of them,” Bolin said.
Newton found a groove at the right time in the second period to add two goals, including a shorthanded goal in the final five minutes of the period. Newton’s first goal quelled Woodbury’s attempted comeback and his second effectively ended any chance.
“Momentum has always been a tough thing for us this year,” Moser said. “We seem to give momentum to teams at the wrong time. Tonight we were kind of able to weather the storm so to speak. That fifth goal by Cody was big. That kind of relieved the pressure a little bit and gave us the confidence to keep going.”
Peterson finished with three assists and Braeden Cordts had two for the Wolfpack.
Matthew Palmquist made 27 saves in net for Park in the victory.