Courtesy of Grand Forks Herald:
By: Tom Miller, Herald Staff Writer
Forward Zach Lehrke is Park Rapids' all-time leading scorer, the highest goal-scorer in the state and one of 10 finalists for the Minnesota Mr. Hockey award.
But on Monday, it was East Grand Forks Senior High's team that put on an offensive show.
The Green Wave, highlighted by a five-goal second period, coasted to an 8-3 win over Park Rapids in the Section 8A boys hockey semifinals in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Senior High heads to the section championship for the first time since 2002. The Green Wave face Warroad at 7 p.m. Thursday in the title game in Thief River Falls.
Park Rapids dropped to 24-3, while the Green Wave improved to 12-12-1.
"We haven't been to the final since 2002, so it's pretty big," said Casey Ristau, who had two goals and an assist.
Park Rapids, the No. 2 seed in the section, hadn't allowed more than five goals all season. Senior High, though, showed early on that it could score against the Panthers.
Senior High defenseman Casey Wood dumped the puck into the zone along the right boards. Michael Lukkason got to the puck behind the net and poked it over to Ristau, who also was in back of the goal. Ristau quickly grabbed the puck and put it in the net on his backhand for a power-play goal at 2 minutes, 58 seconds of the first period.
Ristau struck again less than two minutes later. From behind the net, Henry Gutierrez found Ristau close in at the left faceoff circle. Ristau's blast beat goalie Mark Smith for a 2-0 lead at 4:31.
"It was a big key to get those first two goals," Senior High coach Cory Chupka said. "Park Rapids pressed us early, but we were able to weather that. You could see the guys get excited."
From there, the Wave cruised.
Senior High scored five times in the second period to build a 7-2 lead. Jake Useldinger, Macauley Useldinger, Lukkason, Cody Grassel and John Grabanski all scored in the period.
Lukkason finished with two goals and an assist.
EGF SENIOR HIGH 8, PARK RAPIDS 3
First period - 1. EGF, Casey Ristau (Michael Lukkason, Casey Wood) 2:58; 2. EGF, Ristau (Henry Gutierrez, Macauley Useldinger) 4:31
Second period - 3. PR, Bill Winkler (Derek Ricke) 3:40; 4. EGF, Jake Useldinger 4:04; 5. EGF, Macauley Useldinger (Alex Lind, Vizenor) 7:05; 6. EGF, Michael Lukkason (Ristau, Zak Aubol) 7:48; 7. PR, Zach Lehrke (Curtis Tolle) 12:17; 8. EGF, Cody Grassel (J. Useldinger) 15:30; 9. EGF, John Grabanski (Joey Wikoff, J. Useldinger) 16:08
Third period - 10. PR, Kevin McMorrow (Lehrke) 1:44; 11. EGF, Lukkason 3:16
Goalie saves - EGF: Alex Christiansen 7-9-5 - 21; PR: Mark Smith 9-10-7 - 26