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Duluth East struggled during the holiday tournament season but has rebounded by winning its last 16 games. Star Tribune photo
About the Greyhounds: Duluth East lost much more than a game in the Schwan Cup quarterfinals in December. Hogan Davidson injured his spleen and was hospitalized after the Greyhounds’ 2-0 loss to Breck. Rallying around their fallen comrade, players rebounded to defeat top-ranked Edina 4-1 the next day. Davidson, a talented player who scored six goals in eight games, was later ruled out for the season. But the Greyhounds’ spirit endured. “It told us a lot about this team,” coach Mike Randolph said. “This team has come from nowhere in terms of what we lost from last season. We’re not as high-scoring of a team, but if you play good defense you always have a chance.”
About the Spuds: Facing a sub-.500 record more than halfway through the season, Moorhead regrouped to make its third consecutive and 14th overall state tournament appearance. First-year coach Pete Cullen, cousin of Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cullen, coaxed the team to a 7-3-1 finish. The Spuds improved in key areas, playing fast and gritty while getting tougher in the defensive end. Section opponents Bemidji and Brainerd scored a combined 17 goals in four regular-season meetings with Moorhead but just one in the playoffs. Top-line forwards Tony Uglem and Thomas Carey enter the tournament with 17 goals each. Second-line center Aaron Herdt leads the team with 19.
Did you know? Duluth East’s Randolph won his 500th game earlier this season.
-- David La Vaque, Star Tribune