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Boys Hockey: Lakers get offensive and win Eveleth-Gilbert Tourney

Ben Nelson skates with the puck into an opponent’s zone earlier in the 2013-14 season. The Lakers have exploded for 54 goals over the course of the last five games. Brian Basham/Forum News Service

At the start of the 2013-14 season, there were some concerns emanating out of the Detroit Lakes boys’ hockey camp about the team’s scoring capability, after scoring just four goals in a four-game stretch.

But over the course of the last two weeks, that concern has dissipated, with the attack becoming a strength – a major strength at that.

In the Lakers’ last five games, they have outscored their opponents by a hefty 54-11 margin, including the three-game Eveleth-Gilbert Holiday Tournament, held this past Thursday-Saturday.

DL outscored their three tournament opponents 22-7 to capture the championship and raise their record to 6-4-1, which includes a five-game winning streak.

“We have worked a lot on our offensive attack in practice and our focus has been working on shooting quicker,” said DL head coach Chris Denardo. “Everything has been solid the last few weeks.”

The Lakers toppled Eveleth-Gilbert in the championship game 7-2, as first-liner Ryan Deconcini broke out for four goals in the win.

Others finding the net included forward Jonathan Hallisey, Wilson Lysford and Michael Herrmann.

Sophomore first-line center Jon Richards was also an assist machine, with five in the game.

“Ryan started getting the puck in the net,” Denardo said.

“It was a nice breakthrough game for him, and that first line is showing a lot of speed on the attack.”

MacKenzie Steele put the wraps on Eveleth-Gilbert (7-3-1) with 32 saves, as well.

In the opening game against Section 8-1A foe Kittson Central, the Lakers blasted the Bearcats’ net 19 times in the second period and tied the game 1-1 on a Herrmann power play goal, with Richards and Lysford assisting.

But that was more than enough to loosen up Kittson Central goalie Tucker Cosley, as DL pounced for four goals in the third period.

Ben Nelson put DL up 2-1 on an unassisted effort, as the Bearcats tied it up on a Billy Thorsteinson tally.

But after that, it was all Lakers, as they outshot Kittson Central 12-7 in the third period and notched goals by Casey Paskey, Richards and Tanner Steele.

“We had this game circled because it was a section game,” Denardo said. “We got into a groove in the second period and it just carried into the third.”

MacKenzie Steele had 29 saves in the victory.

In the second game Friday, DL was much too fast and strong for Mankato East, which was outshot by a 52-14 margin in a 10-3 loss.

The Lakers bolted out to a 3-1 advantage in the first period on goals by Herrmann, Lysford and Richards, though the Cougars did make a comeback by tying the game up in the second period with consecutive tallies.

But Deconcini managed to stem the momentum tide with a shorthanded goal on an assist by Richards, as DL went for six goals in the third period.

Goals were also recorded by Taylor Johnson (two), Richards, Lysford, Hallisey and Brandon Olson.

Deconcini, Paskey and Herrmann each had three assists, while Richards notched four.

Steele earned the win with 11 saves.

“Mack (Steele) is playing well, he is making the stops and keeping us in games when we need him to,” Denardo said. “Hoping as the year goes on, he gains more confidence. I’m just seeing a totally different goalie out there this year for us.”

The Lakers will host Fargo North Saturday inside Kent Freeman Arena, starting at 7:15 p.m.

Detroit Lakes at Eveleth-Gilbert Holiday Tournament, Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 26-28

Lakers                 0 1 4 – 5

Kittson Central    1 0 1 – 2     

1st Period -- Scoring: KITTSN - Karboviak Goal (even strength) (Klegstad) 15:02.Penalties: Boomgarden, DTRTLK (Hooking, Minor, 2 min) 8:16. Goalie Changes:None

2nd Period -- Scoring: DTRTLK - Herrmann Goal (power play) (Richards, Lysford) 0:45. Penalties: Mortenson, KITTSN (Roughing, Minor, 2 min) 1:35; Nelson, DTRTLK (High-Sticking, Minor, 2 min) 11:55; Herrmann, DTRTLK (Cross-Checking, Minor, 2 min) 16:30. Goalie Changes: None

3rd Period -- Scoring: DTRTLK - Nelson Goal (even strength) 0:42; KITTSN - Thorsteinson Goal (even strength) 1:56; DTRTLK - Paskey Goal (even strength) (Hallisey, Johnson) 5:31; DTRTLK - Richards Goal (short handed) (Deconcini) 7:19; DTRTLK - Steele Goal (even strength) (Olson) 13:34. Penalties: Boomgarden, DTRTLK (Tripping, Minor, 2 min) 8:23; Kasprowicz, KITTSN (Hooking, Minor, 2 min) 15:51. Goalie Changes: None

Shots on goal – DL 14 19 12 – 45…KC 13 11 7 – 31

Saves – DL (MacKenzie Steele) 29…KC (Tucker Cosley) 40

Lakers              3 1 6 – 10

Mankato East   1 2 0 – 3

1st Period -- Scoring: DTRTLK - Herrmann Goal (even strength) (Deconcini, Richards) 1:22; MKTO E - Adams Goal (even strength) (Johnson) 3:19; DTRTLK - Lysford Goal (power play) (Herrmann, Richards) 11:12; DTRTLK - Richards Goal (power play) (Deconcini, Lysford) 12:46. Penalties: None. Goalie Changes: None

2nd Period -- Scoring: MKTO E - Schulz Goal (even strength) (Treinen, Claude) 9:08; MKTO E - Peller Goal (even strength) (Allan, Kattilakoski) 9:08; DTRTLK - Deconcini Goal (short handed) (Richards) 11:47. Penalties: None. Goalie Changes:None

3rd Period -- Scoring: DTRTLK - Johnson Goal (even strength) (Paskey) 3:53; DTRTLK - Richards Goal (even strength) (Herrmann, Deconcini) 5:27; DTRTLK - Lysford Goal (even strength) (Richards, Herrmann) 5:51; DTRTLK - Hallisey Goal (even strength) (Paskey, Johnson) 7:00; DTRTLK - Johnson Goal (power play) (Hallisey, Paskey) 7:07; DTRTLK - Olson Goal (even strength) (Boomgarden) 14:54.Penalties: None. Goalie Changes: None

Shots on goal – DL 18 9 25 – 52…ME 4 9 1 – 14

Saves – DL (Steele) 11…ME (Conor Wachtel) 42

Lakers               3 2 2 – 7

Eveleth-Gilbert   0 0 2 – 2

1st Period -- Scoring: DTRTLK - Deconcini Goal (even strength) (Richards, Lysford) 1:41; DTRTLK - Hallisey Goal (power play) (Herrmann, Bollig) 13:19; DTRTLK - Deconcini Goal (even strength) (Richards) 13:24. Penalties: Houdek, EVLETH (Tripping, Minor, 2 min) 12:28. Goalie Changes: None

2nd Period -- Scoring: DTRTLK - Lysford Goal (even strength) (Deconcini, Richards) 4:46; DTRTLK - Deconcini Goal (even strength) (Lysford, Steele) 11:05.Penalties: Richards, DTRTLK (High-Sticking, Minor, 2 min) 2:01; Hallisey, DTRTLK (Tripping, Minor, 2 min) 13:26; Heimark, DTRTLK (Interference, Minor, 2 min) 15:25. Goalie Changes: None

3rd Period -- Scoring: EVLETH - Huffman Goal (power play) (Day) 0:25; EVLETH - Karkinen Goal (power play) (Roberts, Day) 2:28; DTRTLK - Deconcini Goal (even strength) (Richards) 2:57; DTRTLK - Herrmann Goal (power play) (Richards) 13:49.Penalties: Bollig, DTRTLK (Tripping, Minor, 2 min) 1:36; Nelson, DTRTLK (Interference, Minor, 2 min) 10:26; O’Bey, EVLETH (High-Sticking, Minor, 2 min) 13:46. Goalie Changes: None

Shots on goal – DL 11 10 7 – 28…EG 12 11 11 – 34

Saves – DL (Steele) 32…EG (Grant Kokal) 21

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.