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Park boys hockey: Wolfpack off to 0-3 start

Park senior Pat McCarthy and the Wolfpack lost 8-1 to rival East Ridge last Saturday. (Submitted photo by Steve Rooker)

Park has plenty at stake going into Woodbury’s Bielenberg Arena on Thursday.

The Wolfpack have a five-game winning streak in the series going against their rival, the Royals. In addition, the Wolfpack dropped their first three games of the season last week.

“If you can’t get up to be prepared to play your cross-town rivals, then I don’t know what motivates them to play then,” Wolfpack coach Jay Moser said.

A recent rivalry game did not go the Wolfpack’s way against East Ridge on Saturday, Dec. 7. Six goals in the first two periods by the Raptors dropped the Wolfpack to 0-3 with an 8-1 loss at Cottage Grove Arena. The Raptors outshot them 40-13, and the Wolfpack went 0-for-5 on the power play.

“We were flat and they took it to us,” Moser said.

Erick Stoffel had the lone goal on an assist from Pat McCarthy at the 14:45 mark in the third period. Wolfpack goalies Kyle Strand and Matt Palmquist split time in net with 19 and 13 saves respectively.

A strong start by Tartan in the Wolfpack’s opener on Tuesday, Dec. 3, buried the Wolfpack 3-0. The two teams exchanged goals in the remaining periods as the Wolfpack fell 5-2. The Wolfpack went 1-5 on the power play and killed both of the Titans’ power plays. The Wolfpack also out-shot the Titans 39-32.

“I was mostly satisfied with our efforts in the second and third periods,” Moser said.

Nick Lucas had the first goal for the Wolfpack at 2:32 in the second period, which cut the Titan lead to 3-1. Stoffel assisted on the goal.

Matt Goecke started the third period with a power play goal for the Wolfpack, which again cut the lead to a pair of goals at 4-2. Lucas assisted on the goal. Strand had 27 saves in goal with a .871 save percentage.

Against Mounds View on Thursday, Dec. 5, the Wolfpack stayed even with the Mustangs for the first two periods a 2-2. The Mustangs pulled away in the third period with three goals for the 5-3 win.

The Wolfpack were outshot 31-22, but they went 1-3 on the power play. The Wolfpack gave up one power play goal by the Mustangs.

Stoffel put the Wolfpack in front 1-0 at the 12:34 mark in the first period on the assist from McCarthy. Austin Ulik scored a short-handed goal on assists from Jason Miner and Brent Wallace, which gave the Wolfpack the lead again in the second period at 2-1. Then, the Mustangs reeled off four unanswered goals for a 5-2 lead.

Lucas scored on the power play with assists from Palmquist and Goecke. Palmquist finished with 26 saves in goal and an .839 save percentage.

Besides Woodbury (2-3, 0-3 Suburban East) on Thursday, the Wolfpack (0-3, 0-2 SEC) also host Cretin-Derham Hall (2-0-1, 1-0-1 SEC) on Saturday.

—Matthew Davis