Hockey: No ‘state’ for Elks; Duluth East rallies, beats them 3-2 in overtime

Elk goalie Mac Berglove and forward Matt Kierstad collapse while Duluth East players and fans celebrated the winning goal in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Elk goalie Mac Berglove (31) and forward Matt Kierstad (19) collapse while Duluth East players and fans celebrated the winning goal in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

 

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Elk River came within two minutes of ending Duluth East’s dynasty in Section 7AA hockey but couldn’t hold on, and a season of high hopes ended just short of the state tournament.

The Elks lost the championship game 3-2 in overtime at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.

Off the Elks’ only penalty of the game, the Greyhounds tied the score with 2:10 left on Alex Spencer’s power play goal, then won 2:08 into overtime when Nick Altman drilled a shot past Mac Berglove into the far side of the net.

Reggie Lutz (21) flipped this shot past Gunnar Howg for the game's first goal. (Photo by Tad Orstad)

Reggie Lutz (21) flipped this shot past Gunnar Howg for the game’s first goal. (Photo by Tad Orstad)

The Elks, who beat Duluth East 3-2 there in December, during a 5-0 start when they also beat state champion Edina and earned the No. 1 ranking briefly, finished 20-7.

Duluth East (21-6-1) captured its sixth consecutive section title, all on their home ice, and ended the Elks season for the fifth time in this six years. The Elks lost to the Greyhounds in the finals in 2009, 2010 and now 2014, and in the semifinals in 2011 and 2012.

Berglove (27 saves) and the Elk River defenders did a stellar job of shutting down the Greyhounds — who had scored 33 goals their previous six games — until the perennial champions, on the brink of defeat, broke loose like they always do in section finals.

Elk River took a 2-1 lead after a the second period where the scoring came in the first and last minutes.

Elk junior Reggie Lutz punctured the net just 15 seconds after face-off on a rush to the net with  Chase Springman and Jack Geissler.

The 1-0 lead stood until Bryton Laxta scored with 36 seconds left, on the third shot of a flurry that moved Berglove back and forth.

Dramatically, Elk junior Jake Jaremko regained the lead just 14 seconds later with a laser from the top of the circle that whizzed past Gunnar Howg and just under the crossbar.

Mac Berglove got in position to stop a point-blank shot in the third period. (Photo by Tad Orstad)

Mac Berglove got in position to stop a point-blank shot by Jack Kolar in the third period. Also in the play are Duluth East’s Nick Altmann (19) and Elk River’s Dylan Bouten. (8). (Photo by Tad Orstad)

 

In the third period, the Elks took only two shots, but held the lead almost to the end as the action grew more and more intense. At one point Berglove made three saves in about five seconds on a one-two punch off a breakaway and then a follow-up shot.

However, Duluth East had its first power play opportunity with 3:51 left when Dylan Bouten was called for cross-checking. Berglove and the Elks almost rode this one out, but with 20 seconds left in the power play, Spencer slipped one in from close range, again on the third shot of a flurry, with 2:10 on the clock.

Elks whooped it  up after Jake Jaremko (2) scored with 22 seconds left in the second period for a 2-1 lead. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Elks whooped it up after Jake Jaremko (2) scored with 22 seconds left in the second period for a 2-1 lead. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

In the overtime, Bouten just missed on a wrist shot before the Greyhounds got the puck to the other end and kept it there until Altman got the puck in the corner and ripped it past the goalie from the side.

It was the 20th goal for Altman, but two guys who seldom score got them to overtime as Spencer has four goals and Lutzke just two.

Duluth East 3, Elk River 2

Elk River 0-2-0-0—2
Duluth East 0-1-1-1—3

 

Dejected Elks and coach Gordie Roberts wait their turns to receive silver medals. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Dejected Elks and coach Gordie Roberts wait their turns to receive silver medals. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

First period — No scoring.
Second period — (1) ER: Reggie Lutz (Chase Springman, Jack Geissler), 0:15 …  (2) DE: Bryton Lutzka (Jack Kolar, Nick Altmann), 16:24 … (3) ER: Jacob Jaremko (Springman, Matt Kiersted), 16:37.
Third period — (4) DE: Alex Spencer (Ash Altmann, Alex Trapp), 14:50 (pp).
Overtime — (5) DE: Nick Altmann (Kolar, Phil Beaulieu), 2:08.
Saves — Gunnar Howg, DE, 23; MacLean Berglove, ER, 27.

Comments Closed

up arrow