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Lakeville North junior Jack Poehling tallied both a goal and an assist for the Panthers.  Photo:  Matt Christians

Lakeville North junior Jack Poehling scored a goal and had an assist for the Panthers on Thursday in their overtime win over Duluth East. Photo by Matt Christians

A long bus ride gave Nick Poehling and the rest of No. 1-ranked Lakeville North plenty of time to mentally prepare for the physical battle that awaited them at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center on Thursday night.

"It's never easy to travel and play Duluth East," Lakeville North coach Trent Eigner said after the Panthers' 3-2 overtime victory. "We knew it would be a physical game as soon as we stepped on the bus."

Lakeville North's Angelo Altavilla started the winning play with a a shot on net, and Poehling slammed home the rebound to extend Lakeville North's winning streak to 12 games and unbeaten streak to 18.

"Our goal was to get pucks to the net and get that dirty goal," Poehling said. "And that's exactly what we did."

As soon as the puck dropped, the physical play began.

Battles in the corners won by Lakeville North's Poehling twins, Nick and Jack, helped give the Panthers an early two-goal lead, but Duluth East forward Phil Beaulieu would tally two of his own before the period would expire.

The game was scoreless through the remaining periods of regulation play.

"We knew it was going to be a tough one," Nick Poehling said. "The first period was rough, but we came out hard in the third and did what we needed to do."

Duluth East netminder Gunnar Howg was outstanding after a shaky first period, stopping 18 shots in the remaining two periods.

Riding the momentum of Howg's numerous toe-saves, the Greyhounds held strong against a surging Panthers team until the final seconds of the third period ticked away.

"I wasn't thrilled with the sluggish play in the first and second period" Eigner said. "But the kids responded well in the third period with our fitness factor."

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THREE STARS

1. Nick Poehling, Lakeville North

The Lakeville North junior's goal in overtime gave the Panthers boost to top the Hounds. Nick Poehling tallied his first goal of the evening in the first period on a beautiful feed from both of his brothers Jack, and Ryan to put the Panthers up 2-0 early in the first. Poehling's three point night boosts him to 34 points on the season.

2. Jack Poehling, Lakeville North

Jack Poehling got the momentum rolling early for Lakeville North scoring a goal just 17 seconds into the first period. Poehling also gained an assist on the second goal of the game. Jack leads the Lakeville North squad with 45 points on the season.

3. Gunnar Howg, Duluth East

The Duluth East goaltender had an outstanding performance stopping 23 of the 26 shots he faced. An abnormal start fired up the junior goaltender to rebound stopping 20 of 20 through the second and third periods. Howg was brilliant late in the third making numerous point-blank saves.

- Morgan Nygaard

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