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Prep boys hockey preview: Duluth East Greyhounds

Duluth East returns its top two goal scorers from last season and boasts greater depth in 2022-23; the Greyhounds will start the season at home against White Bear Lake at 7 p.m. Nov. 25.

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Cole Christian (5) of Duluth East and Ren Morque (15) of Grand Rapids chase the puck on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, at the Essentia Duluth Heritage Center.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune
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Duluth East Greyhounds

Head coach: Steve Pitoscia, second season

Key Departures: G Zander Ziemski (3.82 GAA, .880 save percentage); F Lars Berg (5-8—13); D Tyler Smith (1-2—3)

Key returners: Sr. D Grant Winkler (4-8—12); Sr. D Henry Murray (5-6—11); Sr. F Cole Christian (14-16—30); Jr. F Thomas Gunderson (2-3—5); Jr. F Noah Teng (11-7—18); Sr. F Wyatt Peterson (4-2—6)

Outlook: The Greyhounds dropped their first eight games of the season in 2021-22 and struggled to just eight wins total in coach Steve Pitoscia’s first season on the bench.

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Those eight wins were an improvement on the six from 2020-21, but Pitoscia believes there is reason to think it will be a bigger improvement this season.

East returns its top two goal scorers from last season in senior Cole Christian and junior Noah Teng. The Greyhounds will add to their depth with forwards Caden Cole and Ian Christian and defenseman Christian Cochran.

Goaltending is a question for East after the departure of Zander Ziemski, but Kole Kronstadt and Drew Raukar will compete for the job, with Pitoscia saying the Greyhounds will go with whoever has “the hot hand.”

The biggest challenge for the Greyhounds this season is the same as it always is, a loaded Section 7AA. Andover won the state championship last season and Grand Rapids pushed the Huskies to the limit in the section title game at Amsoil Arena.

“Andover is going to be the class of the section, and certainly all the other teams in Section 7AA will always play us tough too,” Pitoscia said. “We don’t get a night off ever, but I think we’ll be considerably better than we were last year.”

DULUTH EAST

2022-23 SCHEDULE

(home games in ALL CAPS)
Nov. 25 — WHITE BEAR LAKE, 7 p.m.
Nov. 26 — at St. Thomas Academy, 3 p.m.
Nov. 29 — at Grand Rapids, 7 p.m.
Dec. 1 — at Bemidji, 7 p.m.
Dec. 3 — WAYZATA, 2:30 p.m.
Dec. 6 — at Forest Lake, 7 p.m.
Dec. 9 — COON RAPIDS, 7 p.m.
Dec. 10 — EDEN PRAIRIE, 7 p.m.
Dec. 13 — CENTENNIAL, 5 p.m.
Dec. 15 — at Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, 7 p.m.
Dec. 20 — ANDOVER, 7 p.m.
Dec. 22 — at Duluth Marshall, 7 p.m.
Dec. 30 — BLAINE, 3 p.m.
Jan. 6 — GRAND RAPIDS, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 7 — at Stillwater, 6 p.m.
Jan. 12 — BRAINERD, 5 p.m.
Jan. 14 — at Minnetonka, 3:15 p.m.
Jan. 17 — DULUTH DENFELD, 7 p.m.
Jan. 26 — at Hopkins, 7 p.m.
Jan. 28 — at Mounds View, 7 p.m.
Feb. 1 — SUPERIOR, 7 p.m.
Feb. 3 — CHAMPLIN PARK, 7 p.m.
Feb. 6 — CLOQUET-ESKO-CARLTON, 7 p.m.
Feb. 11 — ROGERS, 2 p.m.
Feb. 14 — at St. Cloud, 7:15 p.m.

2021-22 RESULTS

RECORD: 8-18-1
Nov. 26 — at White Bear Lake, L, 6-3
Nov. 27 — at Chaska, L, 3-1
Nov. 30 — GRAND RAPIDS, L, 4-3
Dec. 2 — BEMIDJI, L, 4-3
Dec. 4 — at Wayzata, L, 6-0
Dec. 7 — FOREST LAKE, L, 4-3
Dec. 11 — EDEN PRAIRIE, L, 4-3
Dec. 21 — at Andover, L, 8-0
Dec. 23 — at Brainerd, W, 6-1
Dec. 31 — at Blaine, T, 4-4
Jan. 4 — at Rock Ridge, W, 5-3
Jan. 6 — at Grand Rapids, L, 6-2
Jan. 8 — STILLWATER, L, 5-0
Jan. 22 — MOORHEAD, L, 3-2
Jan. 24 — CLOQUET-ESKO-CARLTON, W, 4-1
Jan. 26 — at Centennial, L 3-2
Jan. 29 — MOUNDS VIEW, W, 6-3
Jan. 31 — MINNETONKA, L, 4-0
Feb. 2 — at Superior, W, 5-2
Feb. 5 — at Elk River/Zimmerman, L, 3-1
Feb. 7 — at Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, W, 4-3
Feb. 9 — at Duluth Denfeld, L, 6-2
Feb. 10 — at Champlin Park, L, 8-3
Feb. 12 — ST. CLOUD, W, 3-1
Feb. 19 — NORTHERN EDGE, W, 3-0
Feb. 23 — at Grand Rapids, L, 6-1

This story was edited at 11:45 p.m. on Nov. 26 to correct the spelling of Drew Raukar's name. It was originally posted at 4 a.m. on Nov. 26. The News Tribune regrets the error.

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