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A Look Around Northeastern Minnesota 12/15/2008

By Howie Hanson, 12/15/08, 9:48AM CST

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Hermantown, Denfeld and Duluth East remain unbeaten in high school boy's hockey

Hermantown, Denfeld and Duluth East remain unbeaten in high school boy's hockey -- and all will be tested in big games this week. Team scoring leader Adam Krause (7 g, 11 pts.) had a goal and an assist to lead host Hermantown (5-0) past Andover 4-3 on Saturday. The Hawks are at non-conference Mound-Westonka (2-2) at 3 p.m. Saturday. Denfeld (3-0) plays host to non-conference Virginia-Mountain Iron-Buhl (3-3) on Tuesday and St. Cloud Cathedral (3-2) Thursday.

Both games at Heritage Center at Clyde Park will begin at 8 p.m. Duluth East (3-0) is at Centennial (3-0) Tuesday and plays host to traditional rival Cloquet-Esko-Carlton at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the DECC. The Cougars are led by forwards Jordan Lovick (12 points) and Tyler Pitlick (9). Forward Willie Hess has a team-high six goals. Forwards Jack McFarlane, Blake Abrahamson and Colton Roy have six points apiece for C-E-C (2-4-1). Starting goaltender Jordan Thompson is 2-3-1 with a 4.06 goals-against average and .818 saves percentage.

The No. 2-ranked Greyhounds have followed an impressive 11-0 opening-game victory over Duluth Central with consecutive 2-0 wins against Wayzata and No. 9 Minnetonka. Senior goaltender Matt Cooper (right) has a 153-minute scoreless streak to open the season, and has averaged only 18 saves a game while backstopping arguably the state's best defensive team. East played poorly against Minnetonka, taking 12 minor penalties, and killed off two 5-on-3 penalties. Cooper kept the Greyhounds in a game they easily should have won, against the young-and-talented Skippers. Duluth East played with a lot of cockiness.

The Hunters have defeated Ashland 7-1, New Prague 5-3 and Shakopee 5-1. Senior center Cody Hotchkin has four goals and a team-eight eight points. Junior wing Jason Johnson also four goals and five points, second-best on the team. Virginia-Mountain Iron-Buhl defeated Grand Rapids 4-0 and Hopkins 5-4. Forwards Chris Westin and Garrett Hendrickson lead the Blue Devils with 18 and 14 points, respectively. Starting goaltender Will Lustig is 2-2 with a 1.76 goals-against average. St. Cloud Cathedral is led by forward Jordan Palusky (team-high 10 points) and defenseman Nate Schmidt (3 goals, 8 points).

However, the Crusaders have lost two straight, to Little Falls 5-4 and Rochester Lourdes 5-2. Duluth Marshall is 2-2, following a 3-2 overtime loss at Minnetonka (4-1) Saturday. The Hilltoppers are at Hibbing (2-2) Thursday and play host to St. Paul Academy (3-1-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Mars Lakeview. Minnetonka defeated visiting Hibbing 4-0 on Dec. 5. Dane Morin and Joe Kozlak lead Duluth Marshall scorers with three points apiece. Goaltender Willie Paul has a 2.94 GAA and .916 saves percentage.

Duluth Central (2-3) is at Princeton on Tuesday and hosts Two Harbors (3-1) at 6 p.m. Thursday at Heritage Sports Center at Clyde Park. Senior forward Riley Kolquist leads the Trojans with four points. Sophomore forward Ben Wrazidlo (right) is Duluth Central's best college prospect.