Prep boys hockey: East proves superior to Spartans
PREP BOYS HOCKEY / DULUTH EAST 10, SUPERIOR 0
If hockey games were decided by shots on goal, the 2018-19 Duluth East Greyhounds would be borderline unbeatable. The Greyhounds routinely outshoot their opponents, but that hasn't always translated into victories this winter.
It is, of course, shots in goal that matter.
East recorded an abundance of those Monday evening at Heritage Center, where 10 of its 45 attempts had the desired outcome in a 10-0 rout of Superior.
"Hopefully this is a sign that some guys are gonna start putting the puck in the net," Greyhounds coach Mike Randolph said. "Obviously, it's a big confidence boost, which is better than playing a game like we've been playing in the past, where you put a lot of shots on net but get no production and guys are walking in the locker room with their heads down.
"Lots of guys are walking in the locker room today with their heads up."
They picked an ideal time to regain their scoring touch, with today's home tilt against No. 6 Maple Grove doubling as East's regular-season finale. The Section 7AA playoffs start with Saturday's play-in game, and the 13th-ranked Greyhounds (15-6-2) will be back at Heritage a week from today against a to-be-determined opponent.
They're hopeful Monday's outburst will serve as an antidote to their shooting-but-not-scoring tendencies. East's last time out, Feb. 4 in Cloquet, resulted in a narrow 2-0 victory over the Lumberjacks despite the Greyhounds' 43-19 advantage in shots.
The biggest head-scratcher, though, came Dec. 28 when East peppered Champlin Park netminder Brennan Boynton with 57 shots, or almost three times as many as what the Rebels mustered, only to fall 3-1.
"It's hard not to get frustrated" when there aren't many goals to show for a barrage of attempts, Greyhounds senior forward Ryder Donovan said.
Donovan scored twice Monday, as did both of his linemates — Jonathan Jones and Jacob Jeannette. They haven't been together long, but you'd never have known it watching them play together against the Spartans.
Jeannette started the scoring by rifling in a wrist shot from the high slot midway through the first period. Eighty-three seconds later, the sophomore doubled East's lead as this one started to go south for Superior.
The Greyhounds led 4-0 after the first period and 7-0 after the second, a period the Greyhounds seemed to spend on odd-man rushes. They outshot the Spartans (16-6), ranked fourth in Wisconsin, 45-10 overall.
"Sometimes we'd kind of get frustrated with ourselves," Jones said. "Coach kept telling us to keep shooting it and pucks will go in. It paid off tonight."
At 6-foot-7, Jones can go end-to-end in what feels like about three strides. Donovan, similarly, has some height. He's 6-4, while Jeannette, the son of former Greyhound Jeremy Jeannette, is 6-1. They could just as well be a basketball frontcourt.
East goalie Lukan Hanson finished with a 10-save shutout in the Greyhounds' fourth straight win. They will be seeded second for the section playoffs, with Andover No. 1.
"This is the real season. It's all that matters," said Donovan, the one-time North Dakota commit who's now re-evaluating where he will play college hockey. "It's nice to get the confidence back and get used to scoring, get the lines jelling."
Superior, meanwhile, starts the postseason Thursday. The Spartans are the top seed in Sectional 1 and will host either Barron or Menomonie. While coach Jason Kalin wasn't thrilled with Monday's outcome, he's ready to turn the page, and quickly.
"It's a new season," Kalin said. "This obviously didn't go the way we wanted it to. We didn't show up to play and East played a (heck) of a game, so we just focus on what our mission is, and that's getting down to the state tournament and competing for a trophy."
Duluth East 4-3-3—10
First period — 1. Jacob Jeannette (Frederick Paine, Ryder Donovan), 7:28 (pp); 2. Jeannette (Paine, Jonathan Jones), 8:51; 3. Brendan Baker (Charlie Erickson, Nolan Aleff), 10:56; 4. Jack FitzGerald (Ricky Lyle), 14:25.
Second period — 5. Jones (Paine, Jeannette), 0:47; 6. Donovan (Jeannette, EJ Hietala), 8:54; 7. Aleff (Baker, Erickson), 15:15.
Third period — 8. Donovan (Paine, Hietala), 0:42; 9. Jones (Jeannette, Donovan), 8:45; 10. Jack Fellman, 16:10.
Saves — Dayton Podvin, S, 14; Jamin Durfee, S, 21; Lukan Hanson, DE, 10.