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Lane collects hat trick as Detroit Lakes snaps two-game skid

Laker senior forward Chad Maristuen takes a shot on W-DC goalie Tyler Muehler during Tuesday's Mid-State Conference tilt inside Kent Freeman Arena. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)

After a recent two-game slide, the Detroit Lakes boys' hockey team was looking for a spark as they head into their final stretch of games before the Section 6-1A playoffs.

The Lakers didn't have to look any further than the Class 1A state-leading scorer forward Tanner Lane, who collected yet another hat trick and his 36-38th goals of the season in a 5-1 victory over visiting Wadena-Deer Creek Tuesday.

The win snaps that two-game losing streak, as well as setting the Lakers (12-4-2) up one game away from clinching the Mid-State Conference title.

"I always look to get to the center of the ice in every game and my teammates were getting me the puck, where I was able to get some shots off," said Lane, who now has 38 goals and 31 assists for 69 points on the season and a plus-46 rating.

DL had to do some shifting in their potent first line attack when senior forward Alex Phelps was called for checking from behind and earned a game disqualification late in the first period.

Lane, along with linemate forward Nate Baker, was joined by sophomore Alex Mason, who gave DL a physical presence on the ice.

"It always unfortunate to lose a player like Alex, so I had to step up, shoot the puck a little more and Nate (Baker) was setting up well," Lane said. "Alex (Mason) is a physical force down in the corners and is a nitty-gritty type of player, so he gave us some good, physical pressure."

The Lakers were more physical than normal against W-DC (4-14), which created plenty of open ice for the faster Laker forwards, including Lane.

Lane scored the first goal at the 12:16 mark after skating free near the top of the red circle, then turning around and zipping the puck past W-DC goalie Tyler Muehler.

After killing off Phelp's five-minute major early in the second period, forward Chad Maristuen found the net on a 2-on-1 opportunity where Lane centered his pass perfectly in front of the W-DC net.

"It took about three or four shifts to get our lines to start gelling after Phelps left," said DL head coach Chris Denardo. "Overall, everyone played well, the puck movement was great and the defensive zone was solid."

Lane notched his second goal on a power play at the 11:22 mark in the second after skating through the Wolverine defense, with Mason and Joe Hanson picking up assists.

The hat trick was complete early in the third period on a rebound by Lane off of an Alex Deconcini shot, with Baker adding his first assist of the game as well.

After Logan Meyer picked up W-DC's first goal on a rebound, Baker finished off the scoring on a seeing-eye pass from Lane through three Wolverine defenders for the final 5-1 score.

The Lakers held the puck for much of the game, outshooting the visitors by a hefty 60-19 margin.

"We needed to be aggressive killing off that major and we were able to outshoot during that time," Denardo said. "Andy Schupp's line played their best of the season, they were buzzing all night.

"Overall, we got some hard shots on net and were getting guys on net."

Goalie Andrew Friesen rebounded in net with 19 saves as well.

"Andrew played a lot better, he wasn't grasping for the puck and just played calm back there," the DL coach added.

The Lakers will host Prairie Centre (4-14-1) and prepare for their biggest game of the season when section foe Sartell (10-5-2) visits for a 3 p.m. start.

"This is our biggest game of the year, we need to come flying out and be ready," Lane said of the game Saturday.

"This will be a good measuring stick game for us," Denardo said. "This should show us where we are in the section."

Laker results

Wadena-Deer Creek at Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Wolverines 0 0 1 - 1

Lakers 1 2 2 - 5

First period -- 1. DL, Tanner Lane (Davis Johnson, Alex Phelps) 4:44.

Second period -- 2. DL, Chad Maristuen (Lane, Alex Deconcini) 9:25; 3. DL, PP Lane (Alex Mason, Joe Hanson) 11:22.

Third period -- 4. DL, Lane (Deconcini, Nate Baker) 1:14; 5. WDC, PP Logan Meyer (Taylor Bienusa) 5:59; 6. DL, Baker (Lane, Andy Schupp) 15:03.

Saves -- DL (Andrew Friesen) 7 6 6 - 19...WDC (Tyler Muehler) 17 18 19 - 54.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.