Hockey boys roll into playoffs

The Forest Lake boys hockey team finished its regular season with a flourish.

In a big win at home last Tuesday, the Rangers beat Suburban East Conference champion White Bear Lake 3-2. Two days later, the Rangers closed conference play with a 7-2 victory over Hastings.

Against the Bears, both teams remained scoreless until junior John Suess took advantage of a power play six minutes into the second period with a goal off assists from seniors Alex Egle and Brett Gravelle.

The Rangers utilized another Bears penalty four minutes later, taking a 2-0 lead with a goal from senior Taylor Marx, assisted by Gravelle.

Forest Lake extended its lead to 3-0 just three minutes later with another power play goal, this time coming from senior Weston Kilpela off passes from Egle and senior Ryan Herbert.

The Bears responded with less than a minute remaining in the second period to make it a 3-1 game heading into the break, then closed the scoring with a goal late in the game.

Senior Jesse Garcia recorded 22 saves in the 3-2 win.

Hastings took the Rangers by surprise with a goal just 36 seconds into the game.

Forest Lake got on the board more than 10 minutes later when Marx scored off a pass from Herbert to tie things up at one.

It was the spark the Rangers needed, as they came out strong in the second period, rattling off three goals in six minutes, including a record-breaking score that earned Gravelle Forest Lake’s single-season record with 29 goals.

Gravelle and Herbert each recorded one goal and two assists in the 7-2 win. Marx scored two goals while Egle and Suess each had one goal and one assist. Senior Luke Resler rounded out the scoring with one goal. Garcia tallied 19 saves.

Forest Lake finished the year 11-3-4 in the SEC, good for a tie for second, and 4-3 against Section 7AA opponents. The Rangers earned the fifth seed in a loaded section, and faced fourth-seeded Grand Rapids on the road on Tuesday. Check for an update.