Boys hockey: Lakers need overtime to finish off Northern Lakes
Cole Larson scored 49 seconds into overtime in Detroit Lakes' 3-2 win over Northern Lakes on Monday night at the Kent Freeman Arena.
DETROIT LAKES – Being snake-bitten can mean a lot of things.
In the literal sense, it’s anything from an uncomfortable sensation to a pricey hospital bill. In hockey, the snake-bitten team is likely the most deserving of a win, even if it doesn’t end that way.
On Monday night, the snake bite proved to be non-venomous, and the Detroit Lakes boys hockey team overcame a plethora of missed opportunities in a 3-2 overtime win over Northern Lakes. Senior Cole Larson buried a second-chance shot past Lightning goaltender Ethan Kunz 49 seconds into the overtime session.
It was the Lakers’ 48th shot of the night.
“In order for us to have success with this team, we need to have contributions from all three lines,” Detroit Lakes head coach Ben Noah said. “These last two games, we’ve gotten that. It was nice to see that line get the game-winner because they’re the line that was the most inconsistent, and all three of them are seniors. The more confidence these guys get, the better off we’re going to be.”
Larson, Carter Bellefeuille and Chase Kukowski, among most Laker forwards, had chances throughout the night. Yet, with five minutes left in the third period, the score was tied 2-2 after Easton Anderson beat Josh Mack with a seeing-eye shot.
However, heading into the extra eight-minute session, the Lakers didn’t lack confidence.
“Going into overtime, we wanted to continue with the pressure,” Easton Kennedy said. “We needed to keep pushing in their zone. We knew we could end it. We knew we could control this game.”
Easton Kennedy started the scoring late in the first period. After Kolbe Severson tied the game midway through the second, the freshman scored again. This time, he beat Kunz on the power play to give Detroit Lakes a 2-1 lead.
“We have a really nice power play, setup by Tanner (Lane),” Easton Kennedy said. “Everything runs through (Jacob Thomas). He controls it really well. It’s really good because we have one on the top and two on the sides. It’s spread out. We get the puck fed to us, and we kind of just leave it up to our shots.”
“(Thomas) makes it really easy on us,” Aiden Kennedy said. “He makes a great play and gets the puck. We have the easy part – walk in and snipe.”
Easton Kennedy skipped his last year of organized youth hockey to play at the varsity level. Despite starting as a depth forward, he’s developed into a critical offensive piece on a team that needs him.
“Easton Kennedy is emerging into a star right now,” Noah said. “We get to see it every day. Not just in games, but in practice. The confidence level is through the roof. He’s patient with the puck. He commands the puck. He snaps it around. Everything you see in elite players, he’s starting to do at an early age. We’re so excited to see the player he becomes in the next two or three years.”
Northern Lakes’ best offensive push came late in the second period. Mack thwarted a breakaway and two one-time opportunities to preserve the one-goal lead. He finished the night with 14 saves, with many being of the high-danger variety.
“Josh can look excellent at times, but at the end of the game, he’d be the first to tell you that he would like a couple of them back,” Noah said. “We are so confident in Josh because we see it. That flurry at the end of the second period where we gave up a breakaway, and right after another grade-A quality chance, Josh kept that lead and shut the door. We talked about it at the end of the second, as a coaching staff, that if (Northern Lakes) would’ve got another one before the period ended, this is a different game.”
Offensive woes have come and gone for Detroit Lakes this season. Even on a night where their effort didn’t show up on the scoreboard, the Lakers hope their snake bite doesn’t leave a mark.
“We’ve been shuffling lines all year, and against Prairie Center, we found our mojo,” Aiden Kennedy said. “Today, we had a hard time scoring, but we had a ton of great chances. They just weren’t going in. That’s hockey.”