When two players on the same team score hat-tricks, it usually means that they have routed the opposing team. But in Cloquet/Esko/Carlton’s case, they had to thwart a comeback by Duluth Central in order to nudge out an 8-5 victory.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we won,” Cloquet coach Dave Esse said, “But give them credit, they obviously kept working hard and throwing pucks at the net. They had some good chances. I think one went off a stick and a shin pad but it doesn’t matter because it’s a goal.”
Jack McFarlane and Adam Hanson both scored hat-tricks in the game, with McFarlane scoring a pure hat-trick in the second period and then some. The second period saw six total goals between the two teams, four of which belonged to McFarlane. The other two goals belonged to the Trojans, which made the score 6-2 heading into the final period.
“You just don’t think about that too much and you just keep playing,” Cloquet’s McFarlane said of his four goal night. “You get a few bounces your way and we kept working hard tonight. It was a little sloppy at the end but we’ll take it.”
McFarlane scored his first goal just over one minute into the second period to make it 3-0 in favor of the Lumberjacks. Central came right back and made it a 3-1 game. Midway through the second period Central had all the momentum and Cloquet was playing on their heels. Coach Esse noticed this and took a timeout.
“We just needed to settle down,” Coach Esse said. “They were on their toes and they were pinching our defensemen. We told them to calm down and get the puck out and make a play. But there was too much monkey business, we told our guys to just keep it simple.”
The timeout couldn’t have worked better as Cloquet won the faceoff in their own zone and took the puck out, giving McFarlane and Nolan Meyer a 2-on-1. Central goaltender Zach Thompson came way out of the crease towards Meyer and he easily passed it to McFarlane who shot it into the empty net, making it a 4-1 game. 30 seconds later McFarlane scored his hat-trick goal.
“The motto on the bench was just calm down and to relax and we’re okay,” McFarlane said. “We’ve got some good veteran leadership so we got everyone calmed down and just got back on the horse and a few bounces went our way. We needed that timeout to cool down because they were taking it to us so that was a good move.”
Just 20 seconds after McFarlane scored his hat trick goal, which was just under the five minute mark of the second period, Central’s Alex Thompson scored his first of two goals to make it 5-2. McFarlane scored his fourth and final goal of the night with just over two minutes remaining in the second period to make it 6-2. That made it five goals being scored in less than a six minute span and three being scored in less than one minute.
The third period saw almost the same amount of goals but just spread over more time. And had only the third period been played, Duluth Central would have won 3-2. Central’s Thompson scored his second goal of the night and Cloquet’s Hanson scored two goals to finish off his hat-trick night, his third goal being an empty net goal with just over one minute to play.
Until that point Central had most of the momentum, coming back to make it a 7-5 game. With just over three minutes left in the game Cloquet’s Mark Savage took an interference call, giving the Trojans another shot to make the game even closer. But Central failed to convert and they waited until the penalty was nearly over to pull Thompson, allowing the empty net goal.
“That was really nerve-wracking because they were really coming on hard,” McFarlane said. “But we have faith in or guys and we believe in each other. It was a little sloppy but we were able to kill it off and it was nice to see Hanson get the hat-trick on the empty net, too”
Nonetheless the Lumberjack came out victorious with a wild 8-5 victory over the Trojans, giving them one more chance at the Lake Superior Conference title. But they will have to beat Hermantown on the road on Thursday, Feb. 3rd in order for that to happen. The winner of that game will almost be guaranteed the LSC title.
Duluth Central travels to Duluth Marshall, also on Thursday, Feb. 3rd in a huge Section 7A matchup. The winner of this game could potentially lock up the second of third seed in that section; and also depending on how the Hibbing and Virginia rematch turns out in a few weeks.
1. Jack McFarlane, Cloquet/Esko/Carlton
Not only did McFarlane score a hat trick but he scored four goals in a row in the second period to give his team a 6-2 lead. Two of McFarlane’s goals were unassisted and all four were at even strength. McFarlane’s four goal night brings his season point total to 40 points.
2. Adam Hanson, Cloquet/Esko/Carlton
Hanson scored three goals in the 8-5 win over Central, including the first and last goals for Cloquet/Esko/Carlton. Hanson’s second goal was on the power-play and his hat trick goal was an empty net goal securing the Lake Superior Conference win.
3. Alex Thompson, Duluth Central
Alex Thompson figured in on three goals and helped to keep Central in the game by scoring two goals and assisting on another. Thompson’s second goal made it a 7-5 game, capping off what would eventually be the end of the Trojan come-back.