Prep boys hockey: Duluth East rebounds from loss to Elk River by cruising past rival CEC
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 th...
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.
East bounced back brilliantly, parlaying a dominant second period into a 5-1 victory Monday at Northwoods Arena that should solidify its grasp on the No. 2 seed when the postseason opens Feb. 18.
"I thought we rebounded strong against a very good hockey team and in a tough place to win," Greyhounds coach Mike Randolph said after his 594th career win. "I think it was good that we just got right back at it."
Garrett Worth and Jack FitzGerald had two goals apiece and the 12th-ranked Greyhounds (15-6-1) blew open a scoreless affair with three unanswered goals in the second period to win for the ninth time in 11 games.
For Worth, Monday continued an offensive binge. He started his run with a goal and two assists as East defeated Brainerd 6-2 on Jan. 20. The next day, he tallied four goals in a 7-0 whitewashing of Roseau. All told, the junior forward has amassed nine goals and five assists the past six games. On a team that spreads out its scoring, Worth doesn't care who gets the goals - just as long as somebody gets them.
"We don't really base our team on the leading goal-scorer," he said. "It's it's going to come, it's going to come."
Worth, sophomore Ryder Donovan and junior Ian Mageau make up the Greyhounds' top line. And the trio works well together. When they're moving the puck like they did Monday, Randolph says, they can be pretty potent.
Donovan and Mageau assisted on Worth's second goal, which came 10:25 into the third period and with East on the power play. Worth received a feed from Donovan and bent a wrist shot through traffic from the left faceoff circle. His 14th goal of the season made it 4-1 minutes after CEC (12-7-2) started to show some life on a Jedd Anich tally.
Worth promptly went down to one knee in a celebration that was punctuated by the standard hockey air punch. He's nothing if not fiery, a spark plug.
The key, Randolph said, is for Worth to control his emotions.
Worth is getting better, though he admits, "I like to live off a big crowd, but I try to control my emotions to the best of my ability."
His offensive surge of late is no accident.
"He's playing off his teammates instead of trying to do it all himself," Randolph said.
East goalie Kirk Meierhoff stopped 14 of the 15 shots he faced. His was a quiet night, primarily because the Greyhounds rang up a 31-15 edge in shots on goal.
This one was lopsided from the start, which didn't sit well with Lumberjacks coach Dave Esse, especially on a night in which CEC paid homage to ex-coach Tom McFarlane. A program icon, the demanding McFarlane won more than 200 games while guiding the Lumberjacks from 1987-2000, including state tournament appearances in 1992 and '93. McFarlane coached one way - hard-charging. Esse didn't think his team matched that example Monday night.
McFarlane did the ceremonial puck drop. And that might have been the highlight for the home fans.
"I don't know why, but we just played emotionless," Esse said. "I think every facet of the hockey game, they beat us fair and square. Tonight was definitely a step backward."
Duluth East 0-3-2-5
First period - No scoring.
Second period - 1. DE, Jack FitzGerald (Hunter Paine, Brendan Baker), 1:32 (pp); 2. DE, Garrett Worth (Ryder Donovan, Luke LaMaster), 6:54; 3. DE, FitzGerald (Austin Jouppi, Paine), 7:24.
Third period - 4. CEC, Jedd Anich (Reid Davidson), 7;37; 5. DE, Worth, (Donovan, Ian Mageau), 10:25 (pp); 6. DE, Jouppi (Ricky Lyle), 13:04.
Saves - Kirk Meierhoff, DE, 14; Eric Newman, CEC, 26.