Prep boys hockey: Denfeld overwhelms shorthanded Greenway
Senior Andy Larson had a hat trick and five total points before the midway point of the second period.
DULUTH — Duluth Denfeld didn’t have any trouble in its Section 7A quarterfinal win over Greenway Tuesday at the Essentia Health Duluth Heritage Center.
The Hunters scored three in the first and another four in the second to take a 7-0 win and clinch a fifth straight trip to Amsoil Arena Thursday. Senior Andy Larson had a hat trick and a pair of assists before the midway point of the second period.
While Larson had a great statistical night, he said it was a credit to the entire team.
“It was a great team effort today,” Larson said. “I think all of my goals were assisted — it’s not like I’m doing the whole thing, the team is setting it up. I think one of them was a power play, so we were just working it around with the extra man, but like I said, it was a team effort tonight.”
Hunters coach Dale Jago noted that the Raiders were playing without several of their top players and others were playing injured.
“They had 12 skaters, they were shorthanded,” Jago said. “We got off to an OK start and then we got into our game and our best players played well and we got a lead. Out of respect for their program and their coaches and their players, we shut our best players down and played the third period that way.”
With the victory, Denfeld (14-11-1) will face Rock Ridge in the Section 7A semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Amsoil Arena.
The Wolverines beat International Falls 9-0 Tuesday to advance. Denfeld beat Rock Ridge 5-2 Dec. 13 at the Heritage Center, a game where Larson scored four third period goals and his 100th career point.
In the rematch Jan. 26, the Wolverines won 6-1 at the Iron Trail Motors Event Center in Virginia.
“We’re expecting a hard-fought battle,” Larson said. “They’re an Iron Range team, they play hard, they slash, they hit well. We’ll be ready for that, try to get behind their D, work hard and try to match them.”
Jago said the game “should be a good, single-A section game, to pretty equal teams.”
Both Rock Ridge and Denfeld announced recently they are moving up to play AA hockey for the 2023-24 season.
Duluth Denfeld 3-4-0—7
First period scoring — 1. DD, Andy Larson (Kaden Postal, Nick McGillivray), 5:01; 2. DD, Postal (Larson), 6:58; 3. DD, Postal (Larson, Jake Feiro), 15:57.
Second period scoring — 4. DD, Larson (Braeden Erickson), 4:14; 5. DD, Larson, 8:54 (pp); 6. DD, Erickson (Postal), 11:00; 7. DD, John Scott (Brady McGinn, Nolan Harju), 13:22.
Saves — Connor Doyle, DD, 11; Derek Gibeau, G, 20; Ethan Ambuehl, G, 16.