Jan. 9, 2008
East hounds Denfeld
By Rick Weegman
Duluth East annually plays one of the toughest
high school boys hockey schedules in Minnesota, but at least in
recent years the Greyhounds have been able to count their game against
Duluth Denfeld as a win ahead of time.
No such luck this year.
East needed two power-play goals to break a tie
and skate to a 6-2 win over Denfeld on Tuesday night at the DECC.
Jacob Boese tapped in a blue-line pass from Joe
Arbour for a power-play goal at 16:04 of the second period to snap
a 2-2 tie, then the Greyhounds (6-6-1) established dominance early
in the third to pull away from the Hunters (10-6).
“It’s always been a battle against
Denfeld; it’s never been an easy game,” East coach Mike
Randolph said. “All the kids know each other, they play against
each other all the way up. It’s an intracity rivalry and it’s
never been easy.”
Despite the nice things Randolph has to say, typically
the Denfeld game has been little more than a tune-up for East’s
rugged schedule against ranked Class AA teams. The Greyhounds won
8-1 and 5-1 the past two seasons and have not lost since a 2-0 defeat
in their state-title year of 1995 — the same year they beat
the Hunters 13-0.
Denfeld has been ranked in Class A most of the
season, and with high-scorers Jake Johnson and Chris Stafne, presented
a unique problem this time around.
Max Skarman’s goal from the right point
55 seconds into the second tied the game at 2, but East retook the
lead on Boese’s late goal.
“Any time you give up a goal late in a period,
the momentum switches,” Denfeld coach Kevin Smalley said.
“Momentum is huge in high school, huge in any sport. Once
they got that fourth goal, you could see us start to press.”
East controlled the third period throughout, getting
goals from Joe Nelson, Derek Forbort on the power play and Kyle
Lutzka to seal the outcome. The Greyhounds finished with a 44-19
edge in shots on goal.
“[Denfeld’s] got a great team and
they played really hard tonight,” said East junior center
Max Tardy, who had three assists. “They wanted it so bad as
underdogs. Our team pulled together and came through tonight.”
Scoring has been difficult for the Greyhounds,
especially in the previous four games when they scored eight goals
in an 0-3-1 stretch. Still, Randolph said East has been outshot
only once this season.
“It’s not like we’re not getting
chances,” he said. “We’re just not bearing down
and finishing around the net. Hopefully, the second half [of the
season] we’ll start putting the puck away.”
East scored two goals within 17 seconds to take
a 2-1 lead in the first period. Dillon Friday knocked in a rebound
after Hunters goalie Brad Skurich failed to hold on to Tardy’s
shot. Rob Johnson tallied 17 seconds later to put the Greyhounds
Duluth East .................2-1-3-6
Duluth Denfeld ........... 1-1-0-2
First period - 1. DD, Jake Johnson (Trent Johnson), 2:18; 2. DE,
Dillon Friday (Max Tardy), 8:56; 3. DE, Rob Johnson (Tardy, Jake
Second period - 4. DD, Max Skarman (Jake Johnson, Chris Stafne),
0:55; 5. DE, Jacob Boese (Joe Arbour), 16:04 (pp).
Third period - 6. DE, Joe Nelson (Mike Renier), 1:19; 7. DE, Derek
Forbort (Tardy), 3:26 (pp); 8. DE, Kyle Lutzka, 15:49.
Saves - Matt Cooper, DE, 17; Brad Skurich, DD, 38.