Boys Hockey: Park Rapids extends win streak with shutouts

The Panthers defeat Ely and Northern Lakes to improve record to 11-5.

Finn Henry checks Ely's Kole Macho (20) away from the puck during the Panthers' 5-0 win at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

PARK RAPIDS – For the first time since the 2013-14 season, the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team posted back-to-back shutouts.

The Panthers fired a season high 50 shots on net, including 23 during a four-goal second period, in a 5-0 victory over Ely at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena on Friday, Jan. 27. That win marked Park Rapids’ seventh win in a row, marking the team’s longest winning streak since seven straight victories during the 2011-12 season.

After a scoreless first period, in which Ely held an 11-9 edge in shots, the Panthers took control by dominating the second period. Kale Ravnaas opened the scoring 1:37 into the period on an assist from Reed Sharp before Jeron Pinoniemi scored at the 6:12 mark with an assist from Joey Hillukka. Braden Stewart set up Vinge at the 8:13 mark before Hillukka and Pinoniemi assisted on a goal by Vinge with 1:18 remaining to make it 4-0.

Vinge completed the scoring with a shorthanded goal with 1:59 to play. Pinoniemi assisted on that goal. Ely failed to score on three power-play chances in the final period.

Goalie Sawyer Torkelson made 28 saves for his third shutout of the season. The win lifted Park Rapids’ record to 11-5 while Ely fell to 6-13.


Ely 0 0 0…0

Park Rapids 0 4 1…5

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring. Penalties: None.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, Ravnaas (Sharp), 1:37. 2, Park Rapids, J. Pinoniemi (Joey Hillukka), 6:12. 3, Park Rapids, Joey Hillukka (Vinge, Stewart), 8:13. 4, Park Rapids, Vinge (Joey Hillukka, J. Pinoniemi), 15:42. Penalties: Ely 2, Park Rapids 0.

THIRD PERIOD: 5, Park Rapids, Vinge (J. Pinoniemi), 15:09. Penalties: Ely 1, Park Rapids 4.

GOALIE SAVES: Ely (Cavalier) 11-23-11–43. Park Rapids (Torkelson) 9-7-12–28.

Panthers blank Lightning

PARK RAPIDS – The Panthers’ penalty kill unit was the difference in a 4-0 Mid-State Conference win over Northern Lakes at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena on Thursday, Jan. 26.

Northern Lakes failed to score on seven power-play opportunities while the Panthers’ special teams recorded a shorthanded goal and a power-play goal in this battle for third place in the conference standings.

Vinge assisted on a shorthanded goal by Hillukka 3:50 into the game while Stewart set up a goal by Joey Hillukka with 46 seconds remaining as the Panthers claimed a 2-0 lead after the first period. The Lightning held a 17-12 edge in shots in that period.

After Sharp assisted on a goal by Vinge 46 seconds into the second period, Vinge and Joey Hillukka assisted on a power-play goal by Pinoniemi at the 8:56 mark to conclude the scoring.

Torkelson finished with 33 saves as the Panthers finished with a 36-33 edge in shots on goal.

Park Rapids improved to 5-3 in the conference while Northern Lakes fell to 3-3 in Mid-State games and 5-11 overall. Detroit Lakes leads the conference standings with a 6-0 record. Wadena-Deer Creek is second with a 6-2 mark.

Northern Lakes 0 0 0…0

Park Rapids 2 2 0…4

FIRST PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, Joey Hillukka (Vinge), 3:50. 2, Josh Hillukka (Stewart), 16:24. Penalties: Northern Lakes 0, Park Rapids 2.

SECOND PERIOD: 3, Park Rapids, Vinge (Sharp), :46. 3, Park Rapids, J. Pinoniemi (Vinge, Joey Hillukka), 8:56. Penalties: Northern Lakes 3, Park Rapids 2.

THIRD PERIOD: No scoring. Penalties: Northern Lakes 2, Park Rapids 3.

GOALIE SAVES: Northern Lakes (Thull) 10-13-9–32. Park Rapids (Torkelson) 17-8-8–33.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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