DULUTH - Duluth East senior forward Dom Toninato's bloody right nostril served as an odd sign of success two years running.
He got "drilled" by teammates celebrating a 4-1 victory against Andover in Thursday's Class 2A, Section 7 championship game at Amsoil Arena.
Toninato scored twice for the top-ranked Greyhounds, who return to the state tournament to avenge a three-overtime loss in last year's title game against Eden Prairie.
"I'll give a little blood for this," Toninato joked.
The Greyhounds made sure to draw first blood Thursday, storming to a 2-0 lead in the first period. Ryan Lundgren fired a rebound home at 4:59 and Toninato put away a chance at 11:18.
Toninato's goal came moments after he returned to the ice after serving a penalty. The Greyhounds (27-1) remained in control even when down a man, holding Andover's power play to one shot on goal. The Greyhounds outshot Andover 41-19.
"We've been emphasizing quick starts this year," Toninato said. "We wanted to jump on them early, and we did."
Andover (19-7-2) showed life in the second period as Christian Mohs got in alone and scored at 4:39. The goal sparked a nice Huskies offensive flurry but produced no additional goals. Andover also failed to capitalize as Duluth East's Phil Beaulieu took a five-minute major penalty for boarding.
"That was a big turning point," Andover coach Mark Manney said. "If we can get even one on that penalty maybe it's a different story in the third period."
Toninato's second goal of gave Duluth East a 3-1 lead in the second period.
Mohs misfired on shorthanded chance in the third period, and Jake Randolph secured the Greyhounds' fourth consecutive state tournament appearance with his goal at 10:50.
With about 10 seconds to play, East coach Mike Randolph leaned forward and confirmed what the giddy boys on the bench knew.
"You're going to the house!" Randolph said.
Tag(s): Star Tribune