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Season Ends In Section Quarter Finals

By Tom Schardin, 03/03/24, 6:15PM CST


The Prior Lake boys hockey team’s season ended in the Section 2AA quarterfinals for a second straight year.

Third-seeded Shakopee scored four goals in the first period en route to a 6-2 home win over the sixth-seeded Lakers Feb. 22. It was second year in a row the Sabers beat Prior Lake in the first playoff round.

Prior Lake finished the season with a 12-12-2 overall record, including 10-5-1 in the South Suburban Conference.

Back in 2022, the Lakers won the Section 2AA crown to earn the program’s first-ever state berth. Since then, the team is 23-26-3 overall, 0-2 in the playoffs.

Prior Lake went into sections winning its last two regular season games, while also splitting two league games with the Sabers. The Lakers won 5-4 at home back on Jan. 6 and lost 4-2 on the road Feb. 6.

In the playoff meeting, Shakopee led 6-0 after two periods before the Lakers finally got on the board. Junior Brayden Pelcl scored with 2:56 left to play in the final period with senior Will Emerson adding the team’s second goal 1:51 later.

Emerson and seniors Charlie Rice and Brody Stephany each had assists. Senior Tyler Coglitore finished with 15 saves in goal.

Prior Lake has lost in the section quarterfinals only three times in the last 14 seasons. The other time was in 2019, a 1-0 loss to Holy Family.

With the two wins to end the regular season, the Lakers avoided a losing season, finishing with .500 record. The program has had just two losing campaigns in the last 14 years.

Prior Lake will graduate eight seniors, including Max Anderson, Graham Erickson, CJ Sheffield and Matthew Pavek. Emerson led the team in points with 21 (7 goals, 21 assists).

Junior Levi Eiter led the Lakers in goals scored with 16, adding nine assists.

Pavek finished third in points with 23 (8 goals, 15 assists), followed by Stephany (5 goals, 11 assists), Erickson (6 goals, 8 assists), Sheffield (3 goals, 10 assists), junior Tristan Pownall (2 goals, 8 assists), sophomore Parker Wenkus (5 goals, 3 assists), Pelcl (5 goals, 2 assists), Rice (4 goals, 3 assists) and Anderson (4 goals, 2 assists).

Prior Lake will have to replace six of its top-10 point producers next season, along with its No. 1 goalie. Coglitore played most of the minutes in net, finishing with a 2.54 goals-against average, an .883 save percentage and three shutouts.