A huge crowd witnessed a huge rivalry filled with lots of emotions that featured lots of scoring, but it was all one sided. Duluth East took it to Cloquet/Esko/Carlton in an 8-1 lopsided win in front of a near capacity crowd Thursday, Feb. 8th at the Duluth Heritage Center.
“It was like men versus boys out there,” Cloquet coach Dave Esse said. “Our guys were kind of on a high after beating a few teams and then you go against one of the best teams in state that moves the puck better than any team in state since the Spehar era.”
The Greyhounds got something they haven’t had too much of all season: spread out scoring. East has gotten most of their scoring from their top line of Dom Toninato, Jake Randolph and Trevor Olson. The line has accounted for 125 points so far this season, but only obtained five points out of a total 23 given out against the Lumberjack’s.
“We had a great team effort and we got some scoring from other people, which is nice to see because we’ve been striving for it all year,” Duluth East coach Mike Randolph said.
Duluth East skated right out of the gate, scoring two goals within 30 seconds of each other and within the first two minutes of the game.
“We’ve been starting out a little slow lately so getting two goals in the first three shifts was a huge start to the game,” Toninato said. “This was a big win and that’s huge coming down the stretch with playoffs coming up.”
The Greyhounds scored the first five goals of the game, taking the 5-0 lead into the third period.
“You can’t watch the puck, you have to move your feet, too,” coach Esse said. “They beat us in everything it was like they were on the power-play the whole time.”
Despite losing to Blaine in their previous game, coach Randolph believes his team has been playing solid hockey throughout.
“People are looking at our Blaine loss but we feel that was our most complete game we’ve played all year – we just made three mistakes, but we feel we’ve played six solid periods in a row,” coach Randolph said.
Duluth East looked solid, as solid as they have all year. All their passes were tape to tape and they didn’t back down for a second, even being up 5-0 after the second period.
“They are just a good club,” coach Esse said. “They’re a fun team to watch when you’re not playing them. I don’t know how many passes they missed all game, but I bet you it’s less than ten.”
Cloquet has two more games, Stillwater at home on Saturday, Feb. 12th and on the road against Forest Lake on Tuesday, Feb. 15th. Duluth East has two more home games against Elk River and Hastings on the 12th and the 15th before traveling to Tartan on Saturday, Feb. 19th to finish up the regular season.
“We’re headed in the right direction and we’re playoff ready,” coach Randolph said. “The kids are excited and things are finally starting to fall into place at the right time.”
1. Dom Toninato, Duluth East
Toninato got the scoring started just 90 seconds into the game on a breakaway and assisted on another goal. Toninato’s two point night pushes his season total to 40 points.
2. Meirs Moore, Duluth East
Moore also scored a goal and added an assist in a very balanced Greyhound attack. Moore assisted on the first goal and scored the only power-play goal of the game for either team.
3. Trevor Olson, Duluth East
Olson netted a goal and an assist in the 8-1 Greyhound victory. Olson’s two point night along with his lines mates made for a five point night. Olson has 43 points on the season.