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Top-ranked Duluth East has its way with No. 2 Minnetonka

12/28/2011, 11:11pm CST
By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune

The state's top two boys' hockey teams met to conclude a three-day tournament Wednesday, providing a glimpse of what March could hold at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.

The state's top two boys' hockey teams met to conclude a three-day tournament Wednesday, providing a glimpse of what March could hold at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.

No. 1 Duluth East flirted with a shutout but settled for a 6-2 defeat of No. 2 Minnetonka in the Schwan Cup Gold Division championship game. Both teams entered the game 10-0.

The Greyhounds' Ryan Lundgren scored his team's first two goals and Dom Toninato finished with a goal and two assists. Duluth East held a 5-0 lead into the third period until goals from the Skippers' Justin Bader and Erik Baskin trimmed the margin.

Three tournament games in as many days figured to test the Greyhounds resolve. But they emerged with a tighter hold on their No. 1 ranking.

Lundgren, who tallied a goal and three assists in the semifinal victory against St. Thomas Academy, dazzled once again. His two goals in the first period staked the Greyhounds to a 2-0 lead and erased any concerns about starting slow again.

After Tuesday's semifinal victory, Greyhounds coach Mike Randolph said his team did not deserve the three-goal lead it built during the second period and was fortunate to escape with a 5-4 victory.

Seemingly taking their coach's critique to heart, the Greyhounds showcased their quickness, precision passing and finishing skills. The performances befit a team boasting many of the players who lost the Class 2A title game in three-overtimes last season.

Leading 2-0 after the first period, the Greyhounds struck for goals by Jack Forbort and Toninato just 48 seconds apart in the second period. A Minnetonka power play backfired late in the period as Toninato got free behind the defense. Though hauled down, Toninato got the puck to a trailing Meirs Moore for a shorthanded goal with 1 minute and 12 seconds remaining.

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