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East Ridge boys hockey: Wahlin, 14th-ranked Bears too much Raptors

East Ridge senior Conor NewKirk attempts a shot on a breakaway Saturday against White Bear Lake at Cottage Grove Ice Arena. The Raptors fell 7-3. (Bulletin photo by Nick Gerhardt)

It seemed only a matter of time before White Bear Lake junior Jake Wahlin got scoring chances and when he did he made the most of them Dec. 28 against East Ridge at Cottage Grove Ice Arena.

Wahlin, who ranks second in the state in goals with 22, scored four times in a 7-3 rout of the Raptors. Wahlin pumped into a pair of goals in the second and third periods for the 14th-ranked Bears in the Suburban East Conference contest.

“We told our kids going into it, when you got a guy like Wahlin out on the ice, we have to take his time and space away,” Raptors head coach Doug Long said. “The law of averages figures out that he’s going to get two or three opportunities, but we can’t keep giving him chances. Unfortunately, the third period we kind of gave him too much space and you saw what happens.”

East Ridge battled back in the second period with a pair of goals from junior forward Kevin Donohue, who scored twice in his last game Dec. 21 against Woodbury in a 4-2 win, to cut the lead to 3-2.

“I thought the first and second period we did a lot of nice things,” Long said. “The second period we lost our focus a couple of times. I thought that the third period our guys were really geared up and ready to go. We took a couple of bad penalties and you can’t do that against that team.”

The Bears (9-2-1, 7-0-1 SEC) scored the game’s next four goals in the third period with Wahlin scoring his third goal at 6 minutes, 20 seconds of the period for a 5-2 lead. Less than four minutes later Wahlin, who has scored in 10 of 12 games this season and has eight mutli-goal games, extended the lead to 6-2.

Hunter Lovdokken made it 7-2 for White Bear Lake at 11:45 before the Raptors (3-6-1, 3-4 SEC) got a goal with 45 seconds left to play from Colin Borsheim on the power play.

East Ridge finished 2-for-4 on the power play and was outshot 26-25 for the game.

Before the loss to White Bear Lake, East Ridge had a chance to knock off 20th-ranked Eagan Thursday at Cottage Grove Ice Arena but had to settle for a 4-4 tie.

The Wildcats (9-4-1, 3-3 South Suburban) ended last season for the Raptors with a 5-2 victory in the section semifinals and came out looking for more of the same in the first meeting between the two since last year.

Eagan put 55 shots on goal, but needed a goal from Max Elsenheimer with 3:20 left to play to escape with a tie.

East Ridge held a 2-1 advantage after the first period on goals from Sam Kastner and Jake Nickoloff.

The Wildcats took a 3-2 lead in the second period where they outshot the Raptors 19-4.

Luke Ringhofer and Colin Borsheim scored in the third period to give East Ridge a 4-3 lead at the 9:28 mark.

Eagan went 0-for-5 on the power play. Tyler Guck made 51 saves for the Raptors.

East Ridge faces 16th-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall Thursday at Cottage Grove Ice Arena.

—Nick Gerhardt