Denfeld News

Jan. 9, 2008
Duluth News Tribune

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 on top.

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 Williams), 9:13.
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.

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