Duluth skates past C-I girls hockey in playoff opener

In the opening round of the Section 7AA girls hockey playoffs, host Duluth used its speed advantage to roll to an 8-2 victory over Cambridge-Isanti-Mora Pine City at beautiful Heritage Arena Feb. 9. The No. 4 seed Northern Stars advance to play at top-seed Elk River in the 7AA semifinals Saturday afternoon.

The Bluejackets came out with good energy, and Kristin Eustice finished off a 2-on-1 with Jordan Ramey by finding the 5-hole for a 1-0 lead at the 7:48 mark of the first period. Less than a minute later, however, Duluth’s Nikki Logergren slammed home a breakaway to tie the game, then teammate Rosie Nelson made it 2-1 with a doorstep goal at the 15:31 mark.

The CIMPC girls had another huge second-period letdown when the Northern Stars scored five unanswered goals to virtually put away the game.  Logergren scored on an early power play, then she got the hat track with a sweet wrap-around goal six minutes later. Logergren assisted on the Stars’ next two goals, then a Klaus breakaway made it 7-1 Duluth. Both teams added solo goals in the final period.

Also in 7AA action Thursday night, No. 2 Grand Rapids-Greenway blanked St. Francis 4-0 and No. 3 Cloquet-Esko-Carlton handled Forest Lake 5-1. The Thunderhawks host the Lumberjacks in the Saturday semis.

Braham Boys Basketball 106, Pine City 37

The Bombers stayed perfect at 14-0 in the Great River Conference with a home rout of Pine City Feb. 9. Braham hosts former playoff-rival Pierz Saturday evening (7:30 p.m.).