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East Ridge boys hockey: Raptors' winning streak snapped by Rangers; will face Hastings in Round 1 of section playoffs

Forest Lake's big first period and strong third period snapped East Ridge's five-game winning streak in the regular season finale Thursday at Cottage Grove Ice Arena.

The Rangers got a 5-3 victory after taking a 3-1 lead in the first period and following up with two third-period goals to erase a second-period comeback from the Raptors.

East Ridge (13-10-2, 9-7-2 SEC) closed out the regular season with a 7-3-1 mark in its last 11 games but couldn't muster much of the magic it had during that stretch.

"Any time that we go to work, with our depth when we decide to work, we can pin them in and we can tire them out," Raptors head coach Doug Long said. "When we're unrelenting like we were in the second period, good things are going to happen."

Good things did happen in the second period for East Ridge as it scored two goals to draw the game to a 3-3 tie. Ian Penvose scored 1 minute, 8 seconds into the second period and Tyler Hart added a goal at 7:05 to tie the game. The Raptors put 21 shots on goal in the period and finished with a 45-33 advantage for the game.

But mistakes East Ridge made in its own zone caught up with the Raptors in the third period. Forest Lake (15-10, 10-7 SEC) took advantage at 3:22 when Weston Kilpela created a turnover and stuffed home a goal to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.

"The one thing we've got to make sure we do is stay focused and not make silly mistakes to give them advantages like odd-man rushes," Long said.

Cody Rogala added his third goal of the game at 12:25 to seal the win for Forest Lake. Rogala had two goals in the first period and Brett Gravelle added another to put the Rangers up 3-1 early.

Jacob Behnken scored at 3:13, 40 seconds after Forest Lake grabbed a 2-0 lead. Behnken's goal served as the lone goal even though the Raptors held a 15-13 shot advantage in the first period.

East Ridge had plenty of opportunities, including a 3-on-1 chance in the third period, but couldn't convert in what seemed like a trend for the game.

East Ridge received the fourth seed for the Section 3AA tournament and will face fifth-seeded Hastings Thursday at Cottage Grove Ice Arena.

--Nick Gerhardt