The Pine City boys hockey team needed a big bounce back win following their 5-1 loss to Duluth Denfeld on Tuesday night. They made the second long bus trip in three days up to Proctor and completely dominated the Rails winning 10-1. Don't be fooled by the score this was not a bad team that the Dragons played. Proctor has wins this season over Mora/Milaca, North Shore, Princeton, and Northern Lakes. This was a top to bottom effort from the Pine City Dragons as they ended the season on a high note.
Senior goalie Alex Laven set the tone for the type of game it was going to be for Pine City when thirty seconds into the game the Dragons gave up a breakaway opportunity for the Rails. Laven stood tall in the net and made the save without batting an eye and the Dragons breathed a big sigh of relief. Five minutes later Seth Linnell got the Dragons on the scoreboard first. Proctor answered quickly when Ben Harnell scored just about thirty seconds later. Broadcasters are known to be right about as much as weathermen and after I spoke the phrase "This will be a back and forth game like this all night" Pine City did their best to prove me wrong and dominated from then on out. Gabe Westbrook buried his first of two on the night with a blue line bullet that Proctor goalie Same Johnson never saw to give the Dragons a 2-1 lead. Johnson did his best to keep the Rails in the game and made 20 saves in the opening period that saw the Dragons dominating but not pulling away quite yet.
The second period was a different story as the Dragons pumped in five goals. Gabe Westbrook scored his second goal just 12 seconds into the period and the Dragons never looked back from there. Parker Sell scored twice and Dusty Bergstrom and George Miller each scored one for the Dragons. Laven made several more nice saves to keep the Rails to just one goal.
Heading into the third period up 7-1, the Dragons were flying and the Rails were already looking forward to their Saturday playoff game. Pine City scored three times in a third period that was already into running clock. Aidan Welch made a great hustle play to pick up his first varsity goal. Howie Hodena and Miller each grabbed goals in the third to wrap up the win.
Alex Laven was very solid in the effort recording 18 saves on 19 shots. Sam Johnson had 24 saves on 34 shots for Proctor.
Coach Nicoll was pleased after the game stating, "We had 7 different goal scores last night! We had assists across the board, we had great goaltending, we had great play from role players that did not go unnoticed! Across the board these boys played very well. You would have guessed that Proctor was a weak team. They are not! They beat many section 5A teams that we are competing against in playoffs. The boys just played that well!"
PC 2 5 3 = 10
Proctor 1 0 0 = 1
Gabe Westbrook - 2g, 1a
Seth Linnell - 1g, 2a
George Miller - 2g, 2a
Dusty Bergstrom - 1g, 2a
Parker Sell - 2g, 2a
Howie Hodena - 1g
Aidan Welch - 1g (His 1st varsity goal!)
Justin Gamec - 1a
Jared Carpenter - 1a
Sam Stapek - 1a
Alex Laven - 18 saves on 19 shots
This was an important win for the Dragons who finished the regular season at 19-6. This not only gives them a mental boost heading into playoffs it might make the difference in the section seeding meeting. Section 5A playoff seeds will be made available on Sunday with the first four teams receiving a night off Tuesday while seeds five through twelve will play on Tuesday night. We will post the seeds and schedule as soon as they are available.