Duluth East players swarm Meirs Moore after he scored one of his three goals on Tuesday night. Photos by Dave Harwig, ViewThroughMyLens.net
When a fresh-faced then-sophomore Meirs Moore fired a laser through traffic and into the net against Grand Rapids in the final minutes of regulation during the 2011 Section 7AA finals, it sent half of Amsoil Arena into a celebration and left everyone in the building with one overpowering impression – that Moore kid sure can shoot the puck.
Fast-forward two years, and Moore’s shot isn’t as good. It’s better.
“He’s got the best shot in the state,” teammate Alex Toscano said after Moore scored three power-play goals to lead Duluth East to a 4-2 win over Minnetonka on Tuesday, Jan. 29. “He knows how to find the net and [the puck] just whizzes past us.”
What Toscano is referring to is Moore’s rare ability to not only shoot the puck with speed, but to needle it through sticks and bodies and anything else that might be between his stick and the back of the net.
A lot of that has to do with his release, which varies from shot to shot. Sometimes, Moore will fire quickly; sometimes he waits and waits and then shoots.
“Each game has different situations and you take a different shot depending on where the puck is and where everyone else is on the ice,” Moore said. “[My shot] has been a work in progress. This is my third year [at Duluth East], and every year my goal has been to get a few more goals each year.”
Moore has done just that as a member of the ‘Hounds varsity, as he already has 13 goals this year after notching six and 13 in his first two seasons. He shoots and scores in all situations, but his real prowess is displayed on the power play.
Duluth East has 17 power-play goals this season, seven of which have come off the blade of Moore. He credits his success on the man-advantage to a number of things, including coach Mike Randolph’s willingness to let him and his teammates get creative and interpret situations as needed.
“I feel really comfortable this year,” Moore said. “Coach gives us a little leeway to try new things, and that was one of my big reasons for staying in high school this year.”
Even with the freedom Randolph gives his players, he still makes them operate within a system. This year, that power-play system has changed. In the past, the ‘Hounds have worked an overload.
Against Minnetonka, Duluth East switched to an umbrella power play, with Moore and defensive partner Phil Beaulieu switching sides of the rink to get on their off-hands.
It paid dividends immediately.
“Meirsy is our quarterback [on the power play], and that’s what the power play works around,” Randolph said. “We have a lot more options for Meirs and everyone else [now that we’ve switched up the system]. Jack [Forbort] is pretty good on his forehand, and we’ve been working on it the last few practices. The guys like it, and we like it.”
Moore certainly likes it, as it plays right into his skillset.
“I think it was a change for the better,” he said. “It showed tonight with a couple power-play goals. Everyone has equal scoring chances, and me and Phil are both offensive and we like to shoot the puck. Having the puck up at the point we’re able to see seams and rip it through.”
Duluth East's Meirs Moore celebrates after scoring his third goal on Tuesday night against Minnetonka. Photos by Dave Harwig, ViewThroughMyLens.net
Meirs Moore scored three power-play goals and Dylan Parker stopped 23 shots to help No. 4-ranked Duluth East to a 4-2 come-from-behind win over visiting Minnetonka on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the Heritage Sports Center in Duluth.
Alex Toscano added an empty-net goal and an assist, while Ryan Lundgren, Phil Beaulieu and Jack Forbort each had single assists for the Greyhounds (16-4-0).
Despite a long bus ride, it was the Skippers that started the game with the better legs.
Jack Ramsey and Max Coatta scored power-play goals before the game was nine minute old to push Minnetonka out to a 2-0 lead early.
After a Wyatt Irwin penalty, Ramsey found a loose puck in the slot and roofed it past Parker’s glove. Then, just four minutes later, Coatta made a great play to find some space and snipe a shot from the slot just seconds after Andrew Kerr was sent to the box.
But from there, it was the Moore show.
The ‘Hounds got back within one when Moore took a one-timer from the point that found it’s way through traffic and past Minnetonka goalie Paul Ciaccio just before the opening period ended.
Moore added another power-play tally in the second – this time scoring on a wrister through bodies – before scoring the game-winner 8 minutes, 18 seconds into the final period on a great individual effort.
During a battle along the wall, Moore dug the puck loose, found some space around the circle and wired a shot off the far post and in.
Duluth East then held off a late charge from the Skippers, including a huge penalty kill in the waning minutes, before Toscano sealed it with his empty-netter.
Jimmy Schuldt had the lone assist for Minnetonka (14-5-1), which is off until a Saturday night showdown with Edina in Minnetonka.
The ‘Hounds are back in action on Thursday night when they travel to Lakeville to take on Lakeville South.
1. Meirs Moore, Duluth East
Just when you think Moore can’t one-up himself, he does. His three power-play goals were all beauties, and they all were made possible because of his extrodinary puck skills. Moore’s patience sets up his shot, as he waits for traffic to get to the net, and then he uses his accuracy to pick the corners where goalies can’t find the puck.
2. Alex Toscano, Duluth East
His empty-netter and assist gave him a couple big points, but it’s the stuff that doesn’t show up on the scoreboard that makes Toscano so valuable to the ‘Hounds. His size creates trouble for opponents in all areas of the ice, his passing helps Duluth East get up and down the rink quickly and his defensive skills make a huge difference in his own end. Toscano had a giant blocked shot on a late Minnetonka power play, just one example of his selfless play in his own end.
3. Tommy Vannelli, Minnetonka
Despite the loss, Vannelli was solid on the power play and used his speed and passing to get pucks out of dangerous areas. He was instrumental in the success of the Minnetonka power play in the opening period, and he ate the big, tough minutes like he usually does.