Saturday’s game against the Duluth East Greyhounds and the St. Cloud Tech Tigers featured a great offense versus a great defense, which made for a great fan experience as the game was kept close with the Greyhounds emerging with a 4-2 victory.
“We knew we were going to be facing a hot goaltender and they play the style of defense that we are going to be seeing a lot of” said Duluth East head coach Mike Randolph, “It’s the box defense where they let you have the puck on the outside but you have to work to get the puck on the inside.”
St. Cloud Tech had a two game win streak and Duluth East was coming off its third loss of the year to Apple Valley. Duluth East outshot St. Cloud Tech by an outstanding 38-12 shots. The Greyhounds were ahead in shots 30-9 after the second period, when the game was tied a two goals apiece.
“They had a pretty good strategy” said Duluth East’s Jake Randolph, “They had a box of four and we went over that between the second and third periods and they kind of had another guy running around. But they played really good defensively and they’ve got a good goalie, too.”
But the big story of the day was the Dom Toninato, Trevor Olson and Jake Randolph line, which combined for seven points in the game and figured in on three of the four goals. Toninato had one goal, Olson had two assists and Randolph had one goal and two assists. The line has combined for 96 points this season so far.
“Goals always come” said East’s Jake Randolph, “If you keep taking shots and making plays it’ll always bounce for you at least one point during the game. We just wanted to keep working and not worry about the score being tied.”
Toninato scored East’s second goal of the game, which came at the 6:45 mark of the first period and it was a power play goal. It had to be the prettiest goal scored this season by any team. The Greyhounds made about five or six passes in the Tiger zone including a rink-wide pass from Randolph to Olson and then Olson fired it to Toninato who was standing in front of the net. Toninato settled it down and shelved it into the net.
“In the first period we got away from the game plan, the guys were pretty excited and skating hard” said St. Cloud Tech head coach Neil Andruschak, “We’ve been working on a fore check and once we started doing that we were more effective. They were hammering us with shots. They were perimeter shots but they are a good team.”
The score was 2-1 in favor of Duluth East after the first period with shots also favoring East 15-5. The first Greyhound goal was scored by Ryan Lundgren, which was followed thirty seconds later by Marcus Lommel’s goal for the Tigers.
The only scoring in the second period was by Brandon Reinholz to tie the game at two goals apiece less than two minutes into the period. Duluth East would outshoot St. Cloud Tech 15-4 in the second period, a two period total of 30-9.
“We know our goalie is really good so we know we can give up shots and he will be able to stop them and we’ve just got to take our shots that we get and make sure they’re good quality shots” said St. Cloud Tech’s Reinholz.
The third period saw the play almost completely belonging to Duluth East as they once again outshot St. Cloud Tech 8-3. The Greyhounds may have had more shots on net but they ran into some penalty trouble later in the period. They killed four penalty minutes in the last seven minutes of the game and didn’t allow a shot on net.
“You’ve got to know when to go fast so you can go slow, and you’ve got to know when to go slow so you can go fast” explained coach Andruschak, “On the power play you dump the puck in and you’ve got to go fast and get it back so that you can slow down the play and set it up.”
Duluth East scored the only two goals of the period as Randolph netted the game winner with just under thirteen minutes to play in the game. The final goal of the game came at the 7:26 mark off the stick of Meirs Moore as he put the Greyhounds up 4-2 all but sealing the fate of the Tigers.
“We held them good to the outside but they’re a great team” said St. Cloud Tech’s Reinholz They move the puck so fast and so well and they’re really good defensively, too. A loss hurts but this isn’t too bad and we will move on from it.”
It can be hard for a team to rebound from a loss, especially if they don’t lose very much and it comes later in the season. But Duluth East rebound nicely from a road loss to Apple Valley in one of the most finely tuned and crisp games that could have been played.
“It’s nice to get in the right direction because there were some issues with our play in Apple Valley” said coach Randolph, “We needed to work on some things and we did that the last few practices. I’m happy to see that the kids are listening and it shows that they’re buying into that system.”
1. Jake Randolph, Duluth East
Randolph figured in on three of the four Greyhound goals by scoring one and assisting on two. Randolph’s lone goal was the game winner. His three point night puts his season total at 32 points. Randolph’s line of Toninato and Olson has a combined 96 total points on the season.
2. Meirs Moore, Duluth East
Moore scored the fourth goal for East which sealed the fate of the Tigers. Moore also netted an assist pushing his point total to 15 on the season thus far.
3. Al Patten, St. Cloud Tech
Patten stopped 34 of 38 shots en route to the loss to the Greyhounds, but without him the score could have been much worse. Patten saw 15 shots in both the first and second periods. Patten is now 10-6-1 on the season.