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Boys' Hockey: Second period pushes Wolfpack over Raptors

Park's Jake Palodichuk stickhandles past an East Ridge defender Thursday. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)1 / 4
Jaxon Bombardir skates into the offensive zone during Thursday's game against Park. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)2 / 4
East Ridge's Tyler Johnson tries to get around Park defender Gavin Foote. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)3 / 4
Park's Jordan Strand carries the puck in the East Ridge zone during Thursday's game at Cottage Grove Ice Arena. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)4 / 4

Park head coach Jay Moser has reminded his players all season about the importance for them to play at a high level of effort to win games.

He once again brought that message to the locker room Thursday after the first period where neither team was able to generate many scoring chances outside of three total power plays.

In a home game against rival East Ridge, the players listened.

"He wasn't too happy," junior forward Keegan Oberding said. "We knew we had to pick it up. We really wanted to beat these guys."

Mason Porter, Keegan Oberding and Grant Glazier each scored in the second period as Park built a 3-1 lead. Ryan Lucas scored an insurance goal just a minute into the third period as Park defeated rival East Ridge 4-1.

Moser felt East Ridge outworked the Wolfpack in the first period. But that changed in the second period as they built a two-goal lead.

"Fortunately, we came out of that first period without giving up a goal," he said. "After we scored our goal, I think we got a little bit of momentum."

East Ridge tried to hang with Park in the second period as Carter VanDenEinde followed Porter's goal with one of his own to tie the game at 1-1. But Park's offense could not be stopped in the second period.

"Once we got the first one, it just kept on coming," Oberding said. "We had a rough first period, so we knew we had to bounce back and do something. It was a big game."

Thursday's win improved the Wolfpack to a record of 4-10-1 in the Suburban East Conference this season. East Ridge dropped to 1-11-2 in the SEC.

Park only has three games left on the season schedule starting with Saturday's home game against White Bear Lake—the final of the Suburban East Conference season. The regular season is set to wrap up next week with a home game against St. Paul North Tuesday and a road contest with Hastings Thursday.

Moser said he would like to see the players continue making improvements on defense over the final weeks of the regular season.

"We still, defensively, at times are too porous," Moser said. "We make poor reads, or we turn the puck over in situations where we shouldn't. Those are correctable things that I think high school players should be able to adjust."