Thursday's prep boys hockey playoff game: Duluth East vs. STMA
DULUTH EAST (23-2-3) VS. ST. MICHAEL-ALBERTVILLE (23-5)
What: Class AA state tournament quarterfinal
When: About 1:15 p.m.
Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
Outlook: Following a two-year state absence, Duluth East is back as Section 7AA's representative. And the Greyhounds are looking for their first title since 1998. The last time they were a No. 3 seed was in 2011, when East played six overtimes en route to a runner-up finish, including three against Eden Prairie in the championship game. Current seniors Garrett Worth, Ian Mageau and Luke LaMaster, plus junior Ryder Donovan, were youngsters for the Greyhounds in 2015 when they lost to Lakeville North in the final. That year, like so many others, included an East-Edina semifinal, which could materialize this week, as well. Today's winner faces either the Hornets or Lakeville North on Friday. Worth (42-22—64) and LaMaster (4-39—43) are Mr. Hockey finalists. LaMaster, a defenseman, has committed to Wisconsin, while Donovan (14-44—58) is a North Dakota commit. Greyhounds coach Mike Randolph has 620 career wins. ... First-time tournament entrant St. Michael-Albertville kept Section 8AA favorite Moorhead away from Xcel, where it lost to Grand Rapids in last year's final, by staving off the Spuds 6-5 last week. The unseeded and veteran-laden Knights are on a 12-game winning streak and their 23 victories are the most in program history. Coach Jerremiah Johnson's twin brother, Jason, is an assistant. Sophomore forward Adam Flammang (25-22—47) is the leading scorer for balanced STMA. Goalie Justin Damon (2.16 goals-against average, .907 save percentage) has totaled six shutouts. The Knights, ranked 13th in the state, beat Hermantown 4-3 on Jan. 20.
Quotable: "That first game, I think teams approach it the same way. It's either win and stay at the 'X' or lose and go over to Mariucci. And you don't want to go there." — Randolph on staying in the winner's bracket
Quotable II: "Obviously, (getting to state) was the main goal this year. The past few years, even my freshman year, ended in heartbreak. So to get back down there is really special." — Worth
TV: WDIO Ch. 10
Radio: KJOQ-AM 1490/KJOQ-FM 100.9
Internet: Prep45.com ($10.95 per day)