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Park boys hockey: Wolfpack win faceoff with Royals; on two-game streak

Park’s Eric Stoffel had two goals in a 5-3 win over Woodbury Jan. 21. (Submitted photo by Steve Rooker)

The Park boys hockey team picked up its first winning streak of the season last week thanks to better shooting and Chaska braving the cold.

Eric Stoffel had two goals for the Wolfpack against intra-district and Suburban East Conference rival Woodbury on Tuesday, Jan. 21 and another pair of goals at Chaska on Thursday, Jan. 23. Most teams postponed their Jan. 23 games due to the sub-zero temperatures, but the Wolfpack and Hawks still faced off in Chaska.

“Eric has been a bit inconsistent but as of late he is generating more offense,” Wolfpack coach Jay Moser said. “We need this in order to compete with our conference opponents.”

A 5-3 win over the Woodbury Royals (6-14; 2-11 SEC) gave the Wolfpack their first conference win of the season. Two goals by Stoffel in the third period broke a 3-3 tie, which put the Wolfpack (4-14; 1-12 SEC) ahead to stay.

Jason Miner and Alex Kielsa found him on a power play the first time around, and Pat McCarthy assisted on Stoffel’s second goal. Kielsa also had a goal in the victory.

“Alex Kielsa and Jason Miner have been playing very well,” Moser said.

Kielsa and Bryce Solberg both scored goals in the first period for the Wolfpack for a 2-2 tie after they had fallen behind 2-0 at Cottage Grove Ice Arena. Brent Wallace kept things tied up with a goal in the second period in answering Jack Glaeser’s goal for the Royals.

Nick Perry, Stoffel and Cordts all had assists in the victory. Wolfpack goalie Kyle Strand stopped 32 shots and had a .914 save percentage. He had plenty of support from the Wolfpack penalty kill, going 6-6.

Matt Palmquist picked up the win in goal for the Wolfpack at Chaska (8-8-2; 3-0-1 Missota). He had 30 saves for a save percentage of .938.

A four-goal second period by the Wolfpack didn’t hurt either. Cordts, Stoffel and Nick Lucas all had goals in the period. They helped the Wolpack to a 6-2 victory and their second-highest goal total of the season.

“Our increased goal production can be attributed more to our increased effort and determination,” Moser said. “Our defensemen are getting more pucks to the net as well.”

Henke, Cordts, Solberg and Lucas all had assists in the win. Nick Gamache put the Wolfpack up 5-2 with a goal in the third period that more or less sealed the game.

After back-to-back victories, the Wolfpack had to tangle with the SEC’s first-place team, Cretin-Derham Hall. A 2-0 hole also stared the Wolfpack in the face through two periods in the Saturday, Jan. 25 contest at Highland Arena.

Wallace and Perry both scored goals in the final seven minutes of the third period to knot up the game 2-2 with only 2:40 remaining. The Raiders responded quickly with the game-winner in less than a minute as the Wolfpack fell 3-2.

Strand had 43 saves and a .935 save percentage despite the loss. The Wolfpack also overcame a 47-20 difference in shooting to keep the Raiders (13-4-1, 10-2-1 SEC) on their toes in the final period.

Another higher-level SEC team in Roseville (9-6-3, 5-4-3 SEC) await the Wolfpack on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Wolfpack also host second-place White Bear Lake (12-5-1, 8-2-1 SEC) on Saturday at 3 p.m.

—Matthew Davis