Hockey: Elk boys nip Duluth East 3-2 in early section showdown

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Jake Jaremko scored the tie-breaker with 4:25 remaining as No. 5 ranked Elk River-Zimmerman topped No. 7 Duluth East 3-2 in an early showdown of section rivals Tuesday evening in Duluth.

“It was a section game and the kids were really fired up to get a win over a really good team like Duluth,” said Elks coach Gordie Roberts. “We had a good hockey game that went back-and-forth all night, and we were on the right side of the final score at the end. It was a good character-builder for our team.”

Duluth East has won Elk River’s section, 7AA, for five straight years, posting several wins over the Elks in that span. The Greyhounds won their first two games 3-2 over No. 8 Wayzata and 3-2 in overtime over Cambridge-Isanti.

Kyle Badger, at 14:44 of the first period, and Grant Bunker, at 3:01 of the second period, scored earlier to give the Elks a 2-1 lead. Phillip Beaulieu and Maysen Rust had the goals for the Greyhounds, the latter knotting the score 2-2 at 7:22 of the second period.

Jaremko, junior forward, nailed his team-leading fourth goal of the season off a scramble in the crease with an assist from Alex Schwab for a 3-2 lead and the Elks (3-0) held on.

The Greyhounds (2-1) outshot the Elks 30-24, with MacLean Berglove stopping 28 of 30 in goal for the Elks. Gunnar Howg was 21-for-24 for the Greyhounds.

“Mac had a great game, and gave us a chance to win,” said Roberts, adding that senior defenders Colton Budreau, Jack Geissler and Joe Gonrowski played a strong game in front of him.

Ben Johnson assisted on the first two Elk goals and Matt Kierstad also assisted on the Badger goal.

The Elks (3-0) now have two wins over other ranked teams. They beat No. 3 Edina 3-1 (the Hornets were No. 1 at the time) before edging Andover 7-6 in an offensive free-for-all last Saturday. The Elks’ defensive and goalkeeping breakdowns seen against Andover were shored up at Duluth.

The Elks will host No. 12 ranked Maple Grove in conference play Thursday.