Wednesday's prep boys hockey playoff game: Greenway vs. Delano
GREENWAY (15-13) VS. DELANO (17-9-2) What: Class A state tournament quarterfinal When: About 8:30 p.m. Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul Outlook: Fresh off a 20-win 2017-18 and a near-miss of the Section 7A crown, and with so many big-time play...
GREENWAY (15-13) VS. DELANO (17-9-2)
What: Class A state tournament quarterfinal
When: About 8:30 p.m.
Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
Outlook: Fresh off a 20-win 2017-18 and a near-miss of the Section 7A crown, and with so many big-time players returning, Greenway opened the current season ranked fifth in Class A. So the Raiders' 6-13 record following a Hockey Day blanking by Bemidji was head-scratching. They haven't lost since. Greenway is 9-0 since the curiously slow start, which included a 4-3 loss to Delano. Don't read too much into that defeat, said senior forward Nikolai Rajala (12 goals, 21 assists, 33 points). "I wouldn't say we're a completely different team, but we were missing some key guys like Ben (Troumbly) and Christian (Miller)," Rajala said. "I think we're definitely ready for the challenge." Troumbly (21-19-40) and linemate Donte Lawson (33-29-62) are offensive wizards, while fellow forwards Micah Gernander (4-11-15), Tristan Birdsall (12-11-23) and Rajala "can play a heavier game," Greenway coach Grant Clafton said. Mitchell Vekich, another forward, has 10 goals and 12 assists. Goalie Logan Wright (1.84 goals-against average, .930 save percentage) was brilliant in the section championship, stopping 47 of 49 Hermantown shots. ... Delano reached its second state tournament by knocking out defending champ Orono to cap a strong defensive showing in the Section 2A playoffs. Behind the steady goaltending of Aaron Kruse (2.47, .905), the Tigers won three section games by a combined 10-0. They are unbeaten in their past 10 (9-0-1) following a 7-3 loss to Orono. The offense isn't quite as flashy as Greenway's, but Delano gets consistent production from two lines. Forwards Hogan Williams (16-18-34), Adam Brown (17-16-33) and Quinn Daly (13-15-28) are the chief threats. The Tigers opened the year 1-5-1.
Quotable: Last week, after beating Hermantown, Greenway players went and read books to elementary students in Nashwauk. The Raiders were treated like superstars, with youngsters gawking at them. "Then it really started to set in what we did for this community," Lawson said.
TV: WDIO Ch. 10
Internet: Prep45.com (free)