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Boys Soccer: Freshman’s hat trick helps Warriors end losing streak

Warriors 5, Storm 1 The key: Jack Thorkelson registered a hat trick for Brainerd, which scored five unanswered goals in the second half Conference: Brd 3-3-0, SR 0-5-0 Overall: Brd 4-3-0, SR 2-5-1 Next: Brainerd at Willmar 5 p.m. Thursday. Even t...

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Brainerd Warrior Jack Thorkelson dribbles the ball against the Sauk Rapids-Rice Storm Tueday night at Adamson Field. Steve Kohls/Brainerd Dispatch

Warriors 5, Storm 1

The key: Jack Thorkelson registered a hat trick for Brainerd, which scored five unanswered goals in the second half

Conference: Brd 3-3-0, SR 0-5-0

Overall: Brd 4-3-0, SR 2-5-1

Next: Brainerd at Willmar 5 p.m. Thursday.

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Even though the Brainerd Warriors trailed Sauk Rapids-Rice 1-0 at the half, they were bringing the heat against Storm goalie Ethan Baker on a crisp Tuesday night at Adamson Field.

Much of the pressure was from the hot foot of freshman forward Jack Thorkelson who pumped in three goals to spark the Warriors to a 5-1 Central Lakes Conference victory.

“I’ve never felt this happy in my entire life,” Thorkelson said. “This is unbelievable.”

Warriors coach Tom Grausam added that Thorkelson “was so excited. We’ve been trying to get him to make those runs. Tonight he made those runs perfectly.”

Aden Davis collected two assists as the Warriors snapped a 3-game losing streak after opening the season 3-0 for the first time since 2007. Brainerd keeper Noah Sundberg swatted away three of the four shots he faced and the Warriors improved to 4-3 overall.

Within a 5-day span, the Warriors lost their last three games 5-3 to St. Cloud Apollo, 6-1 to St. Cloud Tech and Sartell 3-1.

“I saw a totally different team -- how we warmed up tonight,” Grausam said. “Their attitude was different from the previous three games. I think they were just tired the last three games. Those were three hard teams -- Sartell, Tech and Apollo, all state championship (caliber) teams. To come in here and play Sauk Rapids, we’re losing 1-0, then come back from that, that’s heart. That’s what they had tonight, they had the drive to do it.”

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The Storm’s Kieren Emery scored the only goal of the first half, with a rebound off of a Sean Randolph shot. But Brainerd had several quality chances in the half, including two by Mason Wales and another by Davis who was sprinting toward Baker who came out to defend and smothered Davis’ shot in his stomach.

Davis set up Thorkelson’s first goal in the sixth minute of the second half.

“The first one I was just doing what coach told me, keep moving along their defensive line and sooner or later they will forget to mark me,” Thorkelson said. “I wanted to get a nice through ball and get a shot on net at least.”

Brainerd went ahead 2-1 on an own goal with 23:04 left in the second.

“Jack Quaal made a great run up to put pressure on the ball, that’s what caused it,” Grausam said. “Jack came up, it deflected off Jack, their guy tried to clear it and it bounced into the net.

“It’s about time we get one of those own goals. Against Apollo we had two own goals against us. You take those two own goals away and the score’s 3-3.”

Thorkelson tallied for the second time with 7:14 left assisted by Davis. Cam Seneca set up his hat trick with 2:57 remaining.

“It was an awesome through ball by Cam Seneca. That was great,” Thorkelson said. “I was trying to shake the defender. I was just glad I got a shot off.”

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Jack Quaal completed the scoring with an unassisted goal 39 seconds later to saddle the Storm with their fifth straight defeat.

“After the first 20 minutes, we were really sluggish,” Grausam said. “Then I don’t know what happened on the field. They really turned it around and we kept it going, we kept on scoring, we kept on playing hard. That’s what hard work does. That’s what I told them at the half, I said ‘You guys are playing hard. Keep working hard and positive things will come.’”

Sauk Rapids 1 0 -- 1Brainerd       0 5 -- 5

First half: SR-Kieren Emery (Sean Randolph) 34:00Second half: B-Jack Thorkelson (Aden Davis) 6:00; B-Own goal 16:00; B-Thorkelson (Davis) 32:00; B-Thorkelson (Cam Seneca) 37:00; B-Jack Quaal 37:00Shots on goal: SR 4, Brd 14Goalkeepers: SR-Ethan Baker (9 saves); Brd-Noah Sundberg (3 saves)

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