Detroit Lakes shrugged off a slow start and an early two-goal deficit scoring three times unanswered to start the season with a 3-2 victory over Section 8A rivals Kittson Central in boys hockey at Kent Freeman Arena Thursday, Jan. 14.

Head Coach Ben Noah was proud of his club overcoming a less than ideal start and rallying to victory.

The Bearcats did not have the depth on the bench to match the Lakers, but were in the game to the final minute. The Lakers only led for the final 37 seconds of the game.

Sophomore Jacob Thomas got a solid start to his first varsity campaign recording the primary assist on the game-winning goal. Robert Williams / Tribune
Sophomore Jacob Thomas got a solid start to his first varsity campaign recording the primary assist on the game-winning goal. Robert Williams / Tribune

With under a minute to play, Jake Green centered a puck from the right corner that found left defenseman Jacob Thomas in the high slot.

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Thomas relayed the pass in front; the puck bounced off a Bearcat skate and set up Jacob McAllister all alone in front of Kittson goalie Wyatt Olsonawski.

McAllister stuffed the puck home for the game-winner at 16-minutes, 23-seconds of the third period.

The Lakers fell behind 3:40 into the game when the Bearcats capitalized on a power play with Levi Gross in the box for cross-checking. Tyler Hennen scored on a shot from the point that trickled blocker side on Jack Hines leaving an open net.

Detroit Lakes senior goalie Jack Hines stops a shot by the Bearcats' Tyler Hennen in the first period of the Lakers season-opening Section 8A boys hockey victory. Robert Williams / Tribune
Detroit Lakes senior goalie Jack Hines stops a shot by the Bearcats' Tyler Hennen in the first period of the Lakers season-opening Section 8A boys hockey victory. Robert Williams / Tribune

Hennen assisted on Adam Gustafson’s tally three minutes later for a 2-0 lead for the visitors. Gustafson pushed a backhand past Hines driving to the left post.

Detroit Lakes’ best period was the second as the Lakers outshot the Bearcats 17-5.

DL answered Kittson Central’s first period output with a power play goal, followed by a quick even strength goal to tie the game.

The Lakers put together three solid touches on the power play with Braeden Wimmer sending the puck from the left point to Jordan Fields at the top of the right circle. Fields found Beau Boehne driving to the near post, scoring easily into a wide open net at 2:51 of the period.

Less than two minutes later, Jayden Gerdees scored his first career varsity goal to tie the game on a second scoring play that began at the left point.

Defenseman Lukas Justesen passed to Carter Bellefeuille in the slot. Bellefeuille one-touched a pass to a waiting Geerdes with an open blocker side of the net at 4:31.

Detroit Lakes had to kill off a five-minute major penalty early in the third period when Spencer Bergman was sent off on a misconduct for a contact to the head ruling on a hit to Hayden Hennen.

Hennen was injured on the play, left the game and did not return.

Hines stopped 31 of 33 shots to earn the victory, the 10th of his career.

Olsonawski made 29 saves on 32 DL shots.

DL was 1-2 on the power play; Kittson was 1-4. The Lakers have won six of the last eight meetings with Bearcats.

The Lakers will need to start strong and play a complete game at Warroad Saturday, Jan. 16. The Warriors defeated Thief River Falls 7-1 at home Thursday night.

Detroit Lakes 3, Kittson Central 2

KC 2 0 0 - 2

DL 0 2 1 - 3

KC - Tyler Hennen (power play) (Hayden Hennen, Hayden Olsonawski)

KC - Adam Gustafson (Tyler Hennen)

DL - Beau Boehne (power play) (Jordan Fields, Braeden Wimmer)

DL - Jayden Gerdees (Carter Bellefeuille, Lukas Justesen)

DL - Jacob McAllister (even strength) (Jacob Thomas)