White Bear Lake freshman defenseman Owen Gallatin attempts to knock the puck out of the air in front of Duluth East goaltender Parker Kleive. Photo by Loren Nelson, www.legacyhockeyphotography.net
For White Bear Lake, it felt like a victory. For Duluth East, it might as well have been a loss.
“We showed a lot of determination out there tonight, to fall behind three-rip and battle back,” said White Bear Lake coach Tim Sager after his Bears rallied from a 3-0 second-period deficit to tie the Greyhounds, ranked No. 2 in Class 2A in the latest state coaches poll, 3-3 in overtime on Friday at Vadnais Sports Center in Vadnais Heights.
As for Duluth East, well, let’s just say the Greyhounds are lucky they have a game Saturday instead of a practice. Mike Randolph, the no-nonsense Duluth East coach approaching his 600th career victory, was not pleased with his team’s effort in its season opener.
“Our top players weren’t our top players,” Randolph said. “They have to be better. When you put the skill in front of the work, you are not going to get anything done. They didn’t go to work.”
Much like Randolph’s work-harder-or-else message to his team after the game, Sager and his coaching staff delivered mostly the same speech after the first period, when No. 10-ranked White Bear Lake (2-0-1) trailed 3-0 and looked to have no shot at making a comeback.
“We knew after the first that wasn’t our best and that we have to get better,” said Max Jennrich, who along with linemates Chase Hamstad and Austin Carroll outplayed Duluth East’s standout forward trio of Ryder Donovan, Garret Worth and Ian Mageau.
Hamstad fed Jennrich on a highlight reel rush in the second period to pull the Bears to within 3-2.
“I dodged a hit and moved it up to Jenny, and Jenny can put the puck in the net,” Hamstad said. “So it worked out well.”
Jennrich, nodding in agreement, knew he only needed to get open to get the puck.
“I saw him getting around the D, and I just knew I had to get away from the D,” he said. “Because he has eyes, and I knew he would find me back door.”
Hamstad, White Bear Lake’s top returning scorer, tallied a goal in the third period to force the overtime. By then the Bears, however unlikely after their sluggish start, were firmly in control of the play in what was an electric atmosphere.
“We sort of chewed them out a little bit,” Sager said about his all-senior top line. “We talked about determination, about winning puck battles. ‘Let’s go. You are each over 6 feet. Everybody is over 185 pounds. Let’s go. Let’s win some puck battles.’ ”
While White Bear Lake’s senior trio, nicknamed the White Line because that’s the color of their practice jerseys, were dominating play, freshman defenseman Owen Gallatin was making a statement, too. A star on White Bear Lake’s Bantam AA state championship team last winter, Gallatin scored his first varsity goal and made numerous savvy, veteran-like plays both defensively and while attacking in the Duluth East zone.
“From Bantams up to high school, it’s a couple steps different in speed and hitting-wise and stuff like that,” Hamstad said. “For a little guy, he can sure dodge hits and move well.”
Sager, who estimated the diminutive Gallatin weighs “145 pounds soaking wet,” described the Minnesota-Duluth commit as a ‘flatliner.’
“There’s no, up up up up,” Sager said. “He’s just relaxed and plays. Owen is going to be quite a player.”
Gallatin said the game was unlike anything he experienced at the youth levels.
“I think with all the fans and stuff, it was more electric (than the state Bantam tournament),” Gallatin said. “And this (Duluth East) team was obviously very good. A lot better than anything we faced last year. And that made it fun, too, the good competition.”
Senior forward Chase Hamstad had a goal and two assists, and freshman defenseman Owen Gallatin, already committed to Minnesota-Duluth, scored in his first varsity goal as White Bear Lake, ranked No. 10 in Class 2A in the latest state coaches poll, rallied from a three-goal deficit to tie No. 2 Duluth East 3-3 on Friday night at Vadnais Sports Center in Vadnais Heights.
Luke LaMaster, Logan Anderson and David Holliday scored first-period goals for the Greyhounds, who, in their first game of the season, appeared well on their way to a rout of the undefeated Bears (2-0-1).
Gallatin, a key cog on White Bear Lake’s state Bantam AA championship team last season, started the comeback 5:10 into the second period with a shot from the point that eluded heavy traffic in the slot and skidded between the legs of Duluth East goaltender Parker Kleive.
Hamstad followed with a spectacular second-period rush that included some slick stickhandling through and around two Duluth East defensemen before finding linemate and fellow senior Max Jennrich for the crowd-igniting goal that cut Duluth East’s lead to 3-2.
Hamstad tied the score at 3 at 7:06 of the third.
White Bear Lake senior goaltender Stephen Uremovich settled down after a shaky start to stop 21 of 24 shots. Kleive, a senior, made 22 saves.
Duluth East's Ricky Lyle celebrates behind the net after the Greyhounds took an early 1-0 lead. Photos by Loren Nelson, www.legacyhockeyphotography.net
The MN Hockey Hub polls are for entertainment purposes only.