The beginning of the Mississippi 8 era did not go as planned for the Pine City Area Dragon boys hockey team as they lost to Cambridge-Isanti 6-5 on Saturday afternoon.
The Dragons struggled in the opening period and never were able to recover as they had to play most of the game trailing. Cambridge-Isanti opened up the scoring late in the first period thanks to Nathan Schibilla. They added a second heading into the intermission off the stick of Finn Overby
The second period was a much better offensive showing for Pine City scoring four goals in the second, but unfortunately it was much of the same defensively as Cambridge-Isanti scored three of their own. Junior right wing Daniel Sluka joined the team this year and made his presence known early in the second period scoring his first goal in a Dragon jersey. Daniel grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and had a beautiful breakaway opportunity that he capitalized on for the Dragons. Sluka is a foreign exchange student from the Czech Republic and told WCMP he has played hockey for about 13 years. You couldn't tell that this was his first real game playing with linemates Parker Sell and Peyton Smetana as the three of them meshed well on the Dragons top line.
After Sluka's goal, Cambridge-Isanti went right back up by two goals picking up a second period goal by senior captain Easton Parnell. Every time the Dragons would score and things started to go their way the Bluejackets bounced back well grabbing a goal of their own. Pine City grabbed goals from McCoy Leger and Parker Sell to tie the game at three goals a piece. Cambridge-Isanti then went back up 4-3 thanks to a goal by Nathaniel Bauer. Sluka scored on the power play late in the second period going top shelf from the blue line and grabbing his second goal of the night. It looked like Pine City was going to head into the locker room tied at four goals a piece but a late second period penalty put the Bluejackets on the man advantage and Jacob Ziebarth regained the Bluejacket lead. Cambridge-Isanti went on top 5-4 heading into the third and final period.
After a second period that saw seven combined goals we weren't sure what to expect in the third. Both team's defenses tightened up in the third period and only allowed one goal a piece. Pine City tied it up early in the third period thanks to Mason Mikyska, but it was a game winning goal by Jake Brown that came with four minutes left to put the Bluejackets in the win column.
Pine City drops to 0-1 on the season and travel to Proctor on Tuesday to take on the Rails.