by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Jonna Curtis scored four goals, including one with two seconds left to force overtime, but the Elk River skaters lost to North Metro 5-4 in their conference finale Monday evening.
The Elks finished NWSC play 11-7 in fifth place. They’ll take a 17-8 record into Section 7AA play as the top seed, starting Thursday at home against Chicago Lakes, 7 p.m.
The Elks had beaten North Metro 4-1 on their rink on Jan. 22 but the Stars (4-11-2 conference, 7-16-2 overall) took a 3-0 lead in the rematch on the Elks ice.
Curtis scored in the second period but the Elk still trailed 3-1 with 4:30 left in the game. Then Curtis scored twice, 20 seconds apart, each time while swooping in front of the net from the goalie’s right.
North Metro regained a 4-3 lead on a slap shot with two minutes left.
The Elks skated 6-on-4 in the last 46 seconds as they pulled the goalie and North Metro had an elbowing penalty. The Elks had a flurry of three shots in the last 10 seconds and Curtis connected on the last of those, from just right of the goalie, with 2.2 seconds on the clock.
Curtis, a junior who has 39 goals, fired two shots that barely missed early in the overtime, then had a close-range shot in heavy congestion blocked.
It was Senior Night. The five seniors honored were Samantha Geissler, Cassi Schreckenghaust, Danielle Esperum, Meagan Orrock, and Sarah Thedens.
The Elks would wind up losing despite a 39-19 edge in shots as a North Metro player smacked a shot that hit the bottom of the crossbar, then glanced off the side post back unto the ice. Because the puck crossed the line it was ruled a goal.
(North Metro scoring information was not available at this posting.)
Samantha Geissler was in goal for the Elks.
Jordan McLaughlin, talented Elk eighth-grader, missed the game with a shoulder injury suffered in the Elks 1-0 win over Blaine on Saturday. McLaughlin has 8 goals and 8 assists for the season.
Final NWSC standings
Coon Rapids 15-3-0
Elk River 11-7-0
Maple Grove 6-10-2
North Metro 4-11-2
Champlin Park 2-14-2