'Hounds hunted down: Denfeld claims first boys hockey win over East since 1995The Thompson twins Zach and Alex made sure to leave their mark before their time was up at Denfeld, leading the Hunters to a 5-4 nonconference victory Tuesday night at Heritage Center.
By: Rick Weegman, Duluth News Tribune
These Thompson twins weren’t born yet when the other Thompson Twins — a New Wave short-time sensation — hit the charts in the mid-1980s.
And Zach and Alex Thompson were only infants the last time Duluth Denfeld defeated Duluth East in high school boys hockey action.
But the Thompsons made sure to leave their mark before their time was up at Denfeld, leading the Hunters to a 5-4 nonconference victory Tuesday night at Heritage Center.
Zach Thompson recorded 52 saves and Alex Thompson scored two third-period goals, including the game-winner, to give Denfeld its first win over its intracity rival since January 1995. The Hunters won that game 2-0, handing the Greyhounds their first shutout loss in 10 years, after losing 13-0 to the eventual state champions in the first meeting that season.
Thompson stopped 18 shots in a first period dominated by the sixth-ranked Greyhounds (8-4), who had a string of three victories over Class AA top-10 ranked teams in a four-game winning streak, and saved 17 more in each of the final two periods.
“I saw everything, and the ‘D’ was clearing everything out,” the four-year starting goaltender said. “And I controlled my rebounds in the second and third periods.”
East finished with a 56-19 advantage in shots on goal.
“Shots don’t win games, goals win games,” Denfeld coach Kevin Smalley said. “A team like that is going to get shots — they are very skilled and know how to move the puck. Our goal tonight was to keep them from getting second shots and letting our goalie see the puck. Our defense did a great job of tying up behind the play and not letting (rebounds) happen. The bottom line is we knew they were going to have the puck a lot and we needed to be patient and believe in what we do.”
After Kyler Chartier’s opening-period goal put the Greyhounds ahead 1-0, the 12th-ranked Hunters (11-4) scored twice in the second. Steven Maciver scored early and Patrick Potswald picked up a loose puck in the East zone and beat Dylan Parker up high for a short-handed goal at 11:59.
The Greyhounds didn’t take long to equalize in the third period as Jack Forbort took a Ryan Lundgren pass from the corner and skated around a defenseman and Thompson at 1:22.
Seconds after a Denfeld power play ended, Alex Larson got behind the East defense and stuffed the puck in the right corner for a 3-2 lead. Then it was Alex Thompson’s turn, with the senior ripping a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle at 7:28 and stuffing in a wraparound goal at 10:40 for a three-goal lead.
“We couldn’t hold back, we were so excited tonight. We just wanted to beat these guys,” Alex Thompson said. “We got the last laugh in our high school career.”
East struck back with a pair of goals 32 seconds apart — a power-play goal and another with Parker pulled for an extra attacker — but Thompson was there to prevent the tying goal.
“He played unbelievably, the kind of game he had to play,” East coach Mike Randolph said. “And he had some puck luck.”
Randolph said the loss doesn’t stem the momentum his team has built up since the Schwan Cup last month.
“We hope our guys learned something from this, but the three most important games are at the end of February,” he said. “This is, hopefully, a hard lesson learned.”
It could mean more for Denfeld, which beat fourth-ranked Hermantown earlier this season and is seeking its first state tournament berth since 1989.
“I’m more excited for our school,” Smalley said. “To go through the changeovers and to get that excitement back in our school and get some spirit is a crucial thing that we’ve been missing for a long time. Hopefully this will bring the kids together.”
Duluth East: 1-0-3—4
Duluth Denfeld: 0-2-3—5
First period — 1. DE, Kyler Chartier (Wyatt Irwin, Meirs Moore), 7:01.
Second period — 2. DD, Steven Maciver (Alex Thompson), 2:05; 3. DD, Patrick Potswald, 11:59 (sh).
Third period — 4. DE, Jack Forbort (Ryan Lundgren), 1:22; 5. DD, Alex Larson (Potswald, A. Thompson), 4:46; 6. DD, Alex Thompson, 7:28; 7. DD, A. Thompson, 10:40; 8. DE, Joey Marinac (Forbort), 14:48 (pp); 9. DE, Moore (Lundgren, Forbort), 15:20 (ea).
Saves — Dylan Parker, DE, 14; Zach Thompson, DD, 52.