A combination of injuries, illness and suspensions had depleted Ely’s roster to the point the Timberwolves were playing an eighth-grade goaltender and two lines from its junior varsity.
Bagley/Fosston was in equally dire straights, as far as experience, in goal.
“We both started eighth-grade goalies,” Bagley/Fosston coach Jake Seuntjens said. “When their coach (Kurt Mattilla) mentioned that to me, I said to my assistant coach, ‘Well, we might be in for quite the ride tonight.’ ”
Not even Seuntjens’ wildest premonitions could have teased to the historic scoring binge that was about to come in the Dec. 1 matchup in Ely that still has state high school hockey historians cross-referencing their record books.
The teams combined for a stunning 15 goals in the second period alone as Bagley/Fosston skated to a 16-9 victory in what is believed to be the second highest scoring game in state history.
Bagley/Fosston senior Sean LaVine scored four goals and eight assists.
“My grandpa coached hockey in St. Paul for 50 years, so I’ve been around and seen a lot of hockey games even though I’m a young coach, and I’ve never seen a game like that,” first-year Bagley coach Jake Seuntjens said. “To be watching and be part of it was something else. It was crazy.”
The Minnesota State High School League lists the 17 goals in a 9-8 Roseau victory over Burnsville in 1984 as the most by two teams in a game. However, there are several games that have had more than 17 combined goals, most notably Moorhead’s 27-0 victory over Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake in the 2004 Section 8AA quarterfinals.
The Flyers’ win over the Timberwolves could very well be the second-highest scoring game in state history, although most state records are widely considered to be incomplete and undocumented. Most of the MSHSL records are limited to state tournament games.
Ely got two goals from junior Louis Gerzin in the first period, and the Wolves led 4-1 before the Flyers scored twice in the final 3:47 to make it 4-3 heading into the second period.
And then the game really got interesting, with scoring coming at more of a down-and-back basketball than hockey pace.
Gerzin completed his hat trick 58 seconds into the second period to put Ely ahead 5-3, then Bagley senior Aaron Leintz scored three straight goals in a span of 4:24 to put the Flyers ahead 6-5.
Bagley senior Jesse Dukek later topped Leintz’s natural hat trick by scoring three consecutive goals in a span of 1:29 in the second.
More zaniness from the second period:
“It’s a game I’ll never forget,” Mattila said. “You never know what is going to happen up here. Maybe next we’ll have a timberwolf walk across the ice.”
Bagley led 13-9 with a full period to play, but the scoring slowed to a relative crawl in the third when the Flyers outscored the Timberwolves 3-0.
In all, it's possible at least five state records – based on available published information – were either tied or broken:
“It was kind of one of those games that it was so back and forth that you didn’t know how many goals was going to be enough,” Seuntjens said. “Our kids were just absolutely stoked after it. They were absolutely pumped up.
“They were kind of in disbelief, the way were, too, as coaches.”
Seuntjens said an assistant coach reviewed the video to ensure all of the Flyers’ scoring was documented correctly.
“The scoresheet was two pages long,” Seuntjens said. “If another goal had been scored, they probably would have gone to a third scoresheet.”
|2003-04||Moorhead 27, Monticello/A/ML 0||27|
|2012-13||Bagley/Fosston 16, Ely 9||25|
|1950-51||Eveleth 19, Duluth Cathedral 5||24|
|1949-50||Eveleth 23, Duluth Central 0||23|