Brothers Adam Eisele (left) and Seth Eisele celebrate after Adam's third-period goal against White Bear Lake. Photo by Spencer St. Dennis (www.spencerstdennisphotography.squarespace.com)
Stillwater's Luke Manning scored one of four third-period goals for Stillwater against White Bear Lake. Photo by Spencer St. Dennis (www.spencerstdennisphotography.squarespace.com)
Did it go in off his stick? His skate? A random body part?
Stillwater coach Matt Doman can’t say for sure how sophomore Adam Eisele scored Thursday night against White Bear Lake, other than it was exactly the sort of goal that was likely to crack the brick wall that was Bears goaltender Bob Parenteau.
“The kid had a breakaway, the kid had all these grade A chances, you know, and then he gets one, and I don’t know if it went off his butt or what,” Doman said about the sophomore third-liner after the 4-0 victory over White Bear Lake at the St. Croix Valley Recreation Center. “That’s just kind of the way the game goes sometimes.”
Eisle entered the game having scored exactly one goal this season. But not for a lack of trying. The feisty Eisle has a non-stop motor and fearless attitude. His disposition, though, has been decidedly grumpy around the house after games, said his older brother Seth, the Ponies’ standout senior goaltender.
“He’s been getting chance after chance, and he’s coming home frustrated every time,” Seth said. “And then he finally gets one, and I see a big smile as he’s going down the (celebration) line. And I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God.’ I can’t wait to hear about it when I get home.”
Adam’s goal, an odd deflection that sent the puck caroming into the net, ignited a four-goal outburst in the third period. The Ponies, who had thrown everything but their water cooler and stick back at Parenteau in the first two periods, didn’t alter their game plan entering the third. “More of the same” was pretty much the mantra coming from Doman.
“I thought we did a lot of good things, so I really didn’t want to change a lot,” Doman said.
And why should he? The Ponies, with two potent scoring lines and a gritty third, appear to have more than enough firepower to make an extended playoff run again this season. The defending Class 2A, Section 4 champions, ranked No. 5 in the state in Class 2A in the coaches’ poll, likely locked up the No. 1 seed with the victory.
“As things start winding down and as games get more and more important, I’m betting on this team,” said Ponies senior Noah Cates, one of 10 finalists for the Mr. Hockey award that goes to the state’s top senior skaters. “We’ve always been good when things are on the line.”
The victory avenged a 2-1 loss to the No. 15-2A Bears earlier in the season. The Ponies, who improved to 21-3-0, close the regular season on Saturday against No. 4-ranked Holy Family Catholic.
White Bear Lake coach Tim Sager said couldn’t ask for much more from Parentau, who finished with 41 saves.
“How can you fault him,” Sager said. “He made 41 great saves.”
The loss likely drops White Bear Lake to the No. 3 seed in the section, behind Stillwater and likely No. 2 Hill-Murray.
“Hopefully we get a chance to get (Stillwater) in the playoffs, but we’ll have to play a whole lot better,” Sager said.
Stillwater had plenty of fan support as it beat White Bear Lake 4-0 on Thursday night. Photo by Spencer St. Dennis (www.spencerstdennisphotography.squarespace.com)
Four third period goals powered Stillwater past White Bear Lake on Thursday night at the St. Croix Valley Recreation Center, the win all but assuring the Ponies of the top seed in the upcoming Class 2A, Section 4 playoffs.
Stillwater (21-3-0), ranked No. 5 in Class 2A in the state coaches’ poll, found an extra gear in the third period after pummeling standout White Bear Lake goaltender Bob Parenteau with 28 shots to no avail in the first two periods.
Sophomore Adam Eisele and seniors Matthew Stanton, Luke Manning and Jesse Bjugstad all scored in the third period for Stillwater, which avenged a 2-1 loss to White Bear Lake on Jan. 14.
Senior Seth Eisele, Adam’s older brother, needed to make just 13 saves to earn his sixth shutout of the season.
Parenteau finished with 41 saves in a spectacular performance through two periods as he singlehandedly kept the No. 15-2A Bears (14-7-4) in the game.
Stillwater likely will earn the No. 1 seed on Sunday in a vote of the section’s coaches by virtue of its stellar record and superior state ranking. No. 10-2A Hill-Murray, which did not play the Ponies in the regular season, are the likely No. 2 seed. White Bear Lake, which could have made an argument for the No. 1 seed with a victory, probably gets the No. 3 seed.
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