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High School Hockey: Team North wins regular-season title

Brainerd's Cole Ball and Team North of the Upper Midwest High School Elite League put together one of the most impressive regular seasons in league history this fall.

Brainerd's Cole Ball and Team North of the Upper Midwest High School Elite League put together one of the most impressive regular seasons in league history this fall.

Ball played in 19 games with five assists as North compiled a 17-4 record, good for 34 points, nine ahead of second-place Team Southeast.

North was shut out 5-0 by Team Northwest in its season opener Sept. 12 but didn't lose again until Oct. 3. During that 8-game win streak they outscored opponents 44-25. Their 8-1 record had them on top of the league where they remained the rest of the way.

As the league's first-place team, North earned the honor of facing the U.S. National Development Team Program's U-17 team Oct. 10. North played the USNDTP squad to a 1-1 tie midway through the second period before falling 5-1.

North received strong goaltending all season. Duluth Denfeld senior River Alander led the Elite League in save percentage (.914) and his 2.98 goals-against average made him the only Elite League goalie with a mark under 3.00. Sharing time in the net was Grand Rapids sophomore Zach Stejskal, who also posted strong number at .903 and 3.41.

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North had just one player in the league's top seven scorers. Defenseman Scott Perunovich, a junior from Hibbing, scored nine goals and added 24 assists. Alex Adams, a senior from Grand Rapids, led the team in goals with 13, followed by Luke Dow (Duluth East) with 11 and Hermantown's Ryan Sandelin with 10. Ash Altmann of Duluth East added seven goals and 23 points, while defenseman Wyatt Aamodt of Hermantown chipped in nine goals and 22 points.

North opened the Elite League playoffs Friday, Oct. 30, at New Hope Arena.

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