EVELETH — The Golden Bears had a bit of a first period hiccup with a penalty and an International Falls goal, but it was all Eveleth-Gilbert/Mesabi East after that in an important 4-2 section victory at the Hippodrome.
The early goal was merely a speed bump for the Bears, who outshot the visitors 55-31 and seemingly had the advantage even when shorthanded.
“They guys were motoring, really working hard tonight,’’ said E-G/ME head coach Jeff Torrel.
Things started to heat up in the second period as things got more physical.
The Golden Bears took it right in stride and capitalized with two goals late in the stanza.
Gavin Maki took a pass from Levi Skelton and broke in on Broncos goalie Jake Klow and lit the lamp to make it 1-0 at the 14:55 mark.
Thirty-one seconds later, Max Roberts beat Klow with assists from Cody Hendrickson and Aaron Koivunen to make it 2-1 as the teams went to the second intermission.
The physical play fits Eveleth-Gilbert just fine, according Torrel.
“We have a big strong team. Our guys answered’’ after International Falls stepped up their physical play, he said.
The Broncos tried to get back in the game, but Bears’ netminder Ashton Sandnas and the defense shut the door.
Hendrickson added an empty-netter with just 1:29 to play (with Sandnas assisting) and it looked like E-G would win 4-1. However, Brett Lindvall slipped a shot past Sandnas with 54 seconds to play to make the final, 4-2.
“That’s a big section win,’’ Torrel said. “We have to keep it going’’ because the Bears have eight section games remaining.
“We can enjoy this one tonight, but back to work tomorrow,’’ he added.
The Bears (10-7) host North Shore Tuesday in Hoyt Lakes.
IF 1 0 1 — 2
E-G/ME 0 2 2 — 4
First period: 1, IF, Trimble Butler (Tyler Coffield, Trevor Becvar), 14:00.
Second period: 2, EGME, Gavin Maki (Levi Skelton), 14:55; 3, EGME, Max Roberts (Cody Hendrickson, Aaron Koivunen), 15:26.
Third period: 4, EGME, Roberts (Hendrickson, John Grivette), 12:56; 5, Hendrickson (Ashton Sandnas), EN, 15:31; 6, IF, Brett Lindvall (Coffield, Becvar), 16:06.
Saves: Ashton Sandnas, EG/ME, 10-20-10—29; Jake Klow, IF, 13-9-18—51.