Prep boys hockey: Davidson’s hot streak continues in Hunters win over Proctor
The Hunters' senior has 15 points in the last five games, inclduing two in the win over the Rails.
By the standards of the past few games, Duluth Denfeld’s Simon Davidson had a quiet game Saturday in the Hunters’ 6-2 home win over Proctor.
Denfeld put 53 shots on goal in the game, but struggled early to find the back of the net against Proctor goalie A.J. Reyelts.
“We possessed the puck pretty well, but they packed it and the goalie played really well,” Denfeld coach Dale Jago said. “But we put 50-some shots on in the game, but you’ve just got to stay patient and disciplined and keep doing the things that we are typically doing and at some point, we’re going to break through. At some point, we’re going to break through, but I think they ran out of gas in the third period with our attack in their zone. It’s a hard game to coach when you’re given that many opportunities and not finishing.”
Davidson had two goals, but the senior forward finished the game without an assist for the first time since the Hunters’ 9-2 loss to Gentry Academy Dec. 3.
Denfeld had stumbled to a 1-2 start and Jago pulled Davidson aside about three weeks ago and since that time, Davidson has been on a tear. In the last five games — all Hunter wins — Davidson has 12 assists and three goals.
“He realized his compete level had to go up,” Jago said. “Since then he’s improved immensely. He hounds the puck, he’s strong on the puck. He’s got fantastic hands, so he can make plays and now he’s learning how to take it to the net as well.”
Until Saturday’s two-goal performance against the Rails, Davidson had scored just one goal while recording 14 assists. Jago said he has a “wicked shot,” but hasn’t regularly found the net back until Saturday’s game.
“It’s so frustrating for me not to put the puck in the net,” Davidson said. “It’s just like the monkey off the back, I put one in the third game of the year and to get those two it was just like, ‘Ok, no you can just keep playing and do your thing.”
While Jago does want Davidson to shoot more, there are a couple reasons he hasn’t scored more: twin brothers Connor and Cooper McClure. Connor leads the Hunters with 10 goals and Cooper has six, including a hat trick against Proctor.
“They’re so quick and if you put the puck on their stick, you never know if it’s coming back or if it’s going in the back of the net,” Davidson said. “They’re so fast, that’s the biggest thing is their speed opens up so much room. If they keep taking it wide to get me the puck, I’ll keep giving it back and they’ll keep scoring goals.”
Cooper said Davidson’s growth since they started playing together as sophomores is “unreal.”
“When we first got together, he was kind of like a power forward,” Cooper said. “He didn’t really do a lot of playmaking, he was a dog in the corners and stuff, but now his skill has grown so much. His stick handling, his passing, his ability to go through guys — he’s so tall, he just slithers through everybody — it’s something cool to watch.”
While Davidson and the McClure brothers had a strong day, Reyelts' 48 saves kept the Rails in the game and had some spectators scratching their heads wondering how the sophomore was making some of those stops.
Proctor coach Jeff Laspi said goalies are a strength for the team, with senior Sam Johnson and junior Blake Imhoff also getting minutes in net.
“We knew coming up this year, (Reyelts) was going to push for playing time,” Laspi said. “Even though we have solid goalies in Blake and Sammy, but he’s just always in position and he just has a knack for making that big save on the weak side or sliding across.”
Denfeld (6-2) is next scheduled to play at Hermantown at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Proctor (3-4) will host Hibbing/Chisholm at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Duluth Denfeld 2-1-3—6
First period — 1. P, Wyatt Mineheine (Tanner Olson), 5:06; 2. DD, Whitaker Heart (Andy Larson, Connor McClure), 14:43; 3. DD, Cooper McClure, 15:02.
Second period — 4. DD, Cooper McClure ((Brady McGuinn), 10:57.
Third period — 5. DD, Simon Davidson (Dominc Brennan, McGuinn), 2:33; 6. DD, Cooper McClure (Kaden Postal, Connor McClure), 8:13; 7. P, Mineheine (Carson Pavlowich), 13:22; 8. DD, Davidson (Cooper McClure), 15:49 (sh, en).
Saves — A.J. Reyelts, P, 48; Austin Wick, DD, 21.