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East Ridge boys hockey: Raptors tipped by Gravelle, Forest Lake

East Ridge’s Joey Schutz looks for a pass Dec. 19 against Forest Lake at Cottage Grove Ice Arena. The Raptors fell behind 2-0 in the second period en route to a 3-1 loss. (Bulletin photo by Nick Gerhardt)

Forest Lake’s Brett Gravelle scored a pair of goals Thursday, Dec. 19, in a 3-1 victory over East Ridge at Cottage Grove Ice Arena.

Gravelle scored two goals for Forest Lake to increase his total to 15 on the season. Gravelle had back-to-back hat tricks last week against White Bear Lake and Roseville. Gravelle is tied for third in the state for most goals scored.

Gravelle’s first goal came at 14 minutes, 51 seconds of the second period to put the Rangers (4-2-3, 2-1-3 SEC) up 2-0. John Suess scored at 13:17 for Forest Lake’s first goal.

Gravelle’s goal capped off a dominating period for Forest Lake. The Rangers had just eight shots in the first period, but put up 18 in the second while holding the Raptors to 7 in the period. Forest Lake held a 32-27 shot advantage over East Ridge for the game.

“I thought in the first period we did a really good job,” Raptors head coach Doug Long said. “They probably had probably two minutes of zone time in the first period. They had 45 seconds right at the end. Second period, we kind of got stuck on a few shifts, we got stuck where we turned the puck over at the top of the blue line and then they would throw it back in and that wears you down.”

East Ridge looked out of position at times in the second period and took several long shifts in its own zone.

The Raptors (2-5, 2-3 SEC) cut the lead to 2-1 early in the third period when Derek Hammer scored a power-play goal at 5:39 of the third period off an assist from Jake Nickoloff.

Gavelle wasn’t done though and added his second goal at 9:54 to put the game out of reach.

Gravelle scored both goals from the backdoor of the goal as East Ridge failed to pick up players in its zone throughout the game.

Turnovers near the blue line frustrated Long.

“We did not manage the puck very well,” Long said. “We keep track of our turnovers and our goal is to have less than 25 a game and we probably had 50 tonight. The most frustrating thing is that is part of our focus, our execution on little things like that, we spend more time doing that than almost anything else.”

The Raptors appeared to have a goal with 5:09 left to play as the puck slid precipitously close to crossing the goal line.

East Ridge faces White Bear Lake Dec. 28 in Cottage Grove.

—Nick Gerhardt