Louie St. George
- Member for
- 2 years 11 months
CLOQUET — From his stomach inside the Duluth Marshall net, Jon Baker glanced toward the referee, awaiting an indication that his goal was good. The call came — good goal — and Baker joined his Cloquet-Esko-Carlton teammates in celebration on the glass directly in front of their whited-out student section. What a wild night of playoff hockey in Cloquet.
Exiting the ice after steamrolling Hibbing-Chisholm 8-1 to stretch its winning streak to 23 games last Thursday, the Hermantown boys hockey team was serenaded with jeers. The indignation didn't stem from anything that occurred during the regular-season finale for both clubs. It flowed because of the festering belief that Hermantown is miscast as a Class A team, that the Hawks should relinquish their stranglehold on Section 7A and opt up to the state's largest classification.
Almost daily, Duluth East's Garrett Worth is reminded of the Greyhounds' agonizing loss to Grand Rapids in last year's Section 7AA boys hockey title game. That's because last summer the junior forward hung a copy of the Feb. 26, 2016 News Tribune Sports cover in his locker-room stall at Heritage Center. It shows the Thunderhawks rejoicing after rallying from a 5-3 third-period deficit by notching three unanswered goals, the last coming from Alex Adams with 6 seconds remaining in regulation. That day's headline, in big, bold font: THUNDERSTRUCK.
Gene Bondeson is spending his golden years at outdoor hockey rinks. For that, he has Pat Daly to blame. Call 'em the odd couple. Daly, 57, is the hockey lifer, the guy who first picked up a stick at the age of 7. His version of a nightcap is helping to flood a rink. The 66-year-old Bondeson, a "semi-retired" truck driver who still picks up a few routes for Superior-based Halvor Lines, knows more about power steering than power plays. "I know nothing about hockey," he says unapologetically.
A trio of Northlanders are among the 10 finalists for Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey award. Hermantown’s Ryan Sandelin and Dylan Samberg, plus Grand Rapids’ Micah Miller, will vie for the coveted honor, which recognizes the state’s top senior skater as selected by a panel of NHL scouts, junior scouts and coaches and college coaches.
PREP NEWSMAKER — WRESTLING Talk to Devin Reynolds for any length of time, and a couple things stand out. First, the Cloquet senior is a big dude. Second, his hair is yellow. Or maybe it's orange. Either way, it catches your attention atop Reynolds' 5-foot-11, 278-pound frame. It's been there since early November, when Reynolds and his Cloquet football teammates celebrated a Class AAAA state tournament bid by making the tops of their heads resemble sunflowers.
PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL — MIB 65, CROMWELL-WRIGHT 57 CROMWELL — After Mountain Iron-Buhl staved off Cromwell-Wright in a back-and-forth girls basketball tussle in late December, it set the stage for Monday's rematch between two of Minnesota's best Class A teams — and two of the best in the Northland, regardless of classification.
CLOQUET — Coming off Saturday's letdown against Elk River in a game that all but decided the top seed for the upcoming Section 7AA playoffs, the Duluth East boys hockey team had little time to feel sorry for itself. A quick turnaround awaited the Greyhounds, whose six-game winning streak ended in a 4-1 loss to the Elks. East needed to turn the page ahead of Monday's date with Cloquet-Esko-Carlton. Fortunately for the Greyhounds, few opponents stoke their fire quite like the Lumberjacks.
Duluth East senior Avery Plude can thank her father for an early introduction to skiing that has sparked an almost insatiable appetite for the sport. David Plude is an ardent skier. His daughters were predisposed to the slopes. Avery Plude was a natural, which helps explain her Alpine skiing success, of course. But she pairs talent with the kind of mental toughness that has allowed Plude to flourish despite breaking her right ankle three times, just as many concussions and a knee injury. For that, credit likely goes to her entire family.
It's not all doom and gloom for girls basketball in Duluth. While East and Denfeld try to climb out of a competitive valley, Duluth Marshall is playing some of its best basketball since the program made its lone state tournament appearance, in 2000. Sure, part of Marshall's 13-3 record can be attributed to a generous schedule, but the Hilltoppers' slate has remained relatively consistent over the years. The difference is their competitiveness. Marshall's 11 wins last season equaled the highest tally in more than a decade.