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Duluth East edges Cloquet-Esko-Carlton to advance to the Class 2A, Section 7 championship

02/25/2017, 6:30am CST
By Austin Rush, SportsEngine

The Greyhounds' Alex Robb set up teammate Garrett Worth for the only goal of the game.


Duluth East's Garrett Worth (5) celebrates his goal against Cloquet-Esko-Carlton in Saturday's Class 2A, Section 7 semifinal at Amsoil Arena. Worth's goal proved to be the game-winner. Photo by Dave Harwig, viewthroughmylens.net@gmail.com

In his senior year campaign, Alex Robb registered just four points in 23 regular season games, but Saturday he might have scored his team's most important point when he assisted the game-winning goal to hand his Greyhounds a 1-0 victory over Cloquet-Esko-Carlton.

Robb corralled a loose puck following a broken play in the neutral zone, skated up ice, banked it off the boards for senior forward and captain Garrett Worth.

“They were coming down on a rush, and I was back-checking, and he fired it wide and it was on my side,” Robb said. “I picked it up and saw a guy coming, chipped it off the boards, and was able to get it to Worth, and I was just watching him go in and saying, 'Please bury it.'”

Robb’s helper on the eventual game-winning goal landed the Greyhounds in the Class 2A, Section 7 championship next Thursday against a familiar foe, Grand Rapids.

“We need to keep up with them the same way we did in the regular season,” Robb said. “We came out, we just got in their face, we hit them and we were able to find a way to get in there so hopefully we are able to do the same thing again.”

The Greyhounds are all too familiar with close games this season, playing in five games decided by one goal. In the regular season Duluth East was 2-3 in those games.

“I think we played very well. You that's how playoffs are -- playoffs are hard and it's tough,” Robb said.

The Greyhounds meet a Grand Rapids team that scored five third-period goals to erased a two-goal deficit and defeat No. 1 seed Elk River in the other section semifinal. The section champion will represent northern Minnesota in the state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.


Cloquet-Esko-Carlton captain Dylan Johnson shoots in Saturday's Class 2A, Section 7 semifinal game vs. Duluth East at Amsoil Arena. The Lumberjacks fell to the Greyhounds 1-0. Photo by Dave Harwig, viewthroughmylens.net@gmail.com

First Report

After a slow start in the opening six minutes of Saturday's Class 2A, Section 7 semifinal game, Duluth East (18-8-1) kicked things into gear to defeat Cloquet-Esko-Carlton (16-9-2) by a score of 1-0 at Amsoil Arena.

The Greyhounds advanced to the section championship against Grand Rapids on Thursday behind junior captain Garret Worth’s lone goal in the second period assisted by senior forward Alex Robb.

“They were coming down on a rush and I was back-checking, and he fired it wide and it was on my side,” Robb said. “I picked it up and saw a guy coming, chipped it off the boards and was able to get it to Worth, and I was just watching him go in and saying, 'Please bury it.'”

Senior goaltender Kirk Meierhoff posted a 22-save shutout in the contest. He saw 14 of those shots in the final period.

“Today was just kind of a team effort. All of the guys really came together to just put the puck in and play good defense,” Meierhoff said. “They did a really good job of keeping the puck in front of me, and if they do that I'm pretty much sure I'm going to save it.”

Senior Lumberjack goaltender Eric Newman stopped 29 of 30 shots faced, including a breakaway opportunity with 3:45 left in the final period.

Although not a blowout victory, head Coach Mike Randolph is happy with what he saw out of his team today.

“I thought they played right to the end, and did a lot of little things don't show up on score sheets. And I was proud of them the way a young team stuck with it and got it done in the end,” Randolph said.

In its losing performance, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton coach David Esse said he was proud with the way his team battled the Greyhounds for three periods.

"I think we improved, and as an educator, as a teacher, as a coach, that's all you can ask for is improvement and do the best they can and we did," Esse said.

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Micah Miller leaps to the fans after scoring the game winner.

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