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Duluth Denfeld has a blast in Hockey Day win

After word spread late last week that every goal scored by Hockey Day co-hosts Duluth Denfeld and Duluth East would elicit a short blast from the nearby Aerial Lift Bridge horn, players had their marching orders.Sound the horn.And that's precisel...

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Kadin Ferguson (28) of Duluth Denfeld looks to pass the puck thorugh Aaron Koivunen (9) and Nick Przybylski (5) of Eveleth-Gilbert during Hockey Day Minnesota at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth on Saturday. (Clint Austin /caustin@duluthnews.com)

After word spread late last week that every goal scored by Hockey Day co-hosts Duluth Denfeld and Duluth East would elicit a short blast from the nearby Aerial Lift Bridge horn, players had their marching orders.
Sound the horn.
And that’s precisely what Denfeld’s Jake Herold was anticipating when he put the Hunters on the scoreboard in the second period of an eventual 5-2 win over Eveleth-Gilbert on Saturday morning. No dice.
“I didn’t hear it actually after I scored, and I was looking forward to that before the game,” the son of former Denfeld coach Dean Harold said.
Still, it wasn’t a total loss for the junior.
“It was awesome to be out here in front of all these people,” he said.
Fans started flocking to Bayfront Festival Park before the Hockey Day kickoff parade commenced at 9 a.m. By about 9:30, nearby parking lots were filling fast. And by the time the puck dropped for a Section 7A tilt between the Hunters (11-11-1) and Golden Bears (6-17-1), the temporary bleachers residing at Duluth’s favorite outdoor concert venue were running out of openings.
It was a dynamite day for hockey.
“It’s better than what I expected,” Denfeld coach Kevin Smalley said. “You know it’s good, you see other Hockey Days, but this one here had a lot more to it, I think. All the hard work that people put into making this happen, what a great place to have Hockey Day Minnesota. I can’t imagine that there’s any more beautiful site than what we had right here.”
The on-ice action was the main draw, of course, but young fans appeared to be equally enamored with flinging snow chunks onto the ice-covered harbor. And the many fire rings around the grounds proved popular.
After Denfeld legend Pat Francisco dropped the ceremonial puck, the Hunters needed a period to find their groove. Ironically, earlier in the week Denfeld goalie River Alander said “after the first period we should be able to concentrate on what we’re really there for - getting a win in the section.”
Wise words.
“We seem to be a slow-starting team for some reason, but I thought we moved the puck pretty well and I thought we had some grade-A opportunities that didn’t go in the net,” Smalley said. “Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait, and good things will happen.”
Good things came in bunches after Herold broke the ice.
Logan Parzych gave Denfeld the lead for good when he scored late in the second period to make it 2-1. Adam Shykes was credited with the Hunters’ first goal of the third period and Dylan Skorich followed that tally with one of his own seconds later for a three-goal cushion as Denfeld improved to 6-2 in section games. Either a No. 3 or No. 4 seed awaits for the 7A playoffs, which begin Feb. 16.
The Hunters amassed a 38-12 advantage in shots on goal, including 21-3 in the second stanza. They made their Hockey Day debut, and right in their own backyard.
“It was amazing,” said Parzych, who was interviewed by Fox Sports North’s Marney Gellner on the ice after the second period. “The atmosphere here was crazy. It was super fun to play in - just a blast.”
Cody Hendrickson scored the first goal of the 10th annual Hockey Day when his wrist shot slipped past Alander less than two minutes in. That was it, though, until teammate Nick Przybylski made it 4-2 in the third period. It was too little, too late.
“We didn’t get to pucks fast enough and they started beating us in battles,” said Hendrickson, who also had a turn with Gellner. His came during the first intermission.
Skorich added a pair of assists.

Eveleth-Gilbert    1-0-1-2

Duluth Denfeld    0-2-3-5

First period - 1. EG, Cody Hendrickson (Aaron Koivunen), 1:40.
Second period - 2. DD, Jake Herold (Dylan Skorich), 2:12; 3. DD, Logan Parzych (Zach Thompson, Kadin Ferguson), 12:16.
Third period - 4. DD, Adam Shykes (Skorich, Joe Rukavina), 11:41; 5. DD, Skorich (Shykes), 11:48; 6. EG, Nick Przybylski (Hendrickson, Cooper Dosan), 13:35 (pp); 7. DD, Ferguson (Adam Reynolds), 16:20 (en).
Saves - River Alander, DD, 7; Brandon Johnson, DD, 3; Thomas Koskela, EG, 33.

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