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Park boys hockey: Late goals cost Wolfpack on the road

Park’s Nick Gamache and the Wolfpack fell 3-2 to Roseville Jan. 30 after losing to South St. Paul and White Bear Lake earlier in the week. (Submitted photo by Steve Rooker)

Leading 2-1 in the third period at Roseville, the Park Wolfpack appeared headed for their third victory in four games. A strong start did not last, however, for the Wolfpack in the final period as they gave up two goals in a 3-2 loss to the Raiders Jan. 30 at the Roseville Skating Center.

“We started off good, we took it to them,” Wolfpack senior captain Alex Kiesla said before a short pause. “We kind of fell apart in the third period.”

After surrendering the first goal, the Wolfpack kept it to a 2-2 tie until the final three minutes, but the Raiders continue to put pressure on with strong puck control.

“They just wanted it more,” Kielsa said. “We need to get the drive back that we want the puck more than they do.”

A second Raiders goal put the Wolfpack behind in the final minutes 3-2 and forced pulling the goalie at the end. While the Wolfpack kept the puck in their end and got aggressive offensively, they could not come up with a last-minute, game-tying goal.

“In hindsight, I wish I would have pulled him 20 seconds earlier,” Wolfpack coach Jay Moser said.

A goal by Alex Kielsa and a score by Eric Stoffel put the Wolfpack in the lead. Nick Perry, Kyle Mohr, Pat McCarthy and Jason Miner all assisted on those goals.

“We were able to capitalize on our chances,” Perry said.

Kyle Strand had 36 saves in goal for the Wolfpack, and he had a save percentage of .923.

Despite losing the lead and their second-straight game, the Wolfpack bounced back from their lack-luster performance against South Saint Paul. The Wolfpack fell 7-0 to the Packers Jan. 28 after being out of school for two days because of the severe wind chill warnings.

“Excluding the South Saint Paul game, I’m very pleased with the consistency and our effort in the last five or six games,” Moser said. “That’s the only way we’re going to be successful is if we play hard.”

After back-to-back wins, the Wolfpack offense cooled to sub-zero temps against the Packers. Overall, those wins and increased intensity have Wolfpack players feeling more confident.

“I feel like we’re playing pretty good,” McCarthy said.

The Wolfpack (4-17, 1-14 Suburban East) ran into a tough No. 15-ranked White Bear Lake team, losing 5-0 Feb. 1. Strand had 49 saves and a .907 save percentage in the loss.

Up next, the Wolfpack will play at Hastings (9-11-2, 5-8-2 SEC) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Wolfpack will host Forest Lake (11-6-4, 7-3-4 SEC) on Saturday at 3 p.m. and visit Apple Valley (4-17, 1-12 South Suburban) Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.

—Matthew Davis