Elk River was handed its first conference loss by Centennial 3-2 on Thursday evening in Circle Pines, a game in which each team had a shorthanded goal.
The Elks had a 45-27 edge in shots but Cougar goalie Patrick Munson stopped all but two.
The top of the NWSC standings is now Blaine 4-0, Centennial 5-1 and the Elks 4-1.
Jordan Pitlick got Centennial’s shorthanded goal in the first period. The Elks fared better on a power play in the second period with Reggie Lutz scoring, assisted by Wyatt Ege. The Cougars (9-3 overall) ruled the rest of the period with Pitlick and Ryan Gorowski scoring.
Jake Jaremko scored with Centennial in the power at 7:50 of the third period but the Elks were not able to add a tying goal.
Maclean Berglove made 24 saves for the Elks (7-6 overall).
Elk River will play at Armstrong on Saturday, 3 p.m.