Delano senior Kory Dunnigan attempts to work his way past East Grand Forks defenseman Josh Nelson on Saturday in Delano. Photo by Loren Nelson, LegacyHockeyPhotography.com
East Grand Forks is known for playing a gritty, relentless, in-your-face style — a Man’s Game as it is called in the northwest corner of the state.
Rough and tough as they are, East Grand Forks players have taken their share of abuse over the years, too.
The high school that sits on the border of North Dakota, and about 80 miles south of the Canadian border, uses the Green Wave as its nickname and mascot for its athletic teams. Opposing players delight in making fun of the unusual moniker.
“Everyone chirped us, ‘What is a Green Wave?’ ” said junior forward Landon Parker, who scored twice and added an assist in Saturday afternoon’s 5-1 victory over Delano. “Now we can show them.”
This season the Green Wave, state small-school champs in 2014 and 2015, have traded their traditional spoked-E crest on their uniforms for the school’s longtime logo. However, a few minor alterations were made to the fictional character that looks something like a Smurf from the 1980s cartoon series.
“That’s the original green wave guy,” said East Grand Forks coach Tyler Palmiscno, who played for the Green Wave and the University of North Daktoa. “We added the stick to him. A little high stick, in-your-face stick.”
Because that’s the way you guys like to play?
“Well, I guess,” Palmiscno said.
Added Parker: “He’s got a mean face on him. Shows them what we are about to do.”
Parker helped ignite a first-period scoring blitzkrieg. He notched the team’s second and fourth goals. The Green Wave led 4-1 after the first and were never threatened the rest of the way.
East Grand Forks’ top returning scorer, Parker managed 15 goals and 15 assists last season while battling through injuries. Not only is he healthy to start this season, he’s stepped into a leadership role.
“It’s my third year here, so I thought I could help the team in that way,” Parker said. “Especially with a young, good player like (Jaksen) Panzer. With the experience we’ve had, kind of help him with his transition to high school hockey.”
Panzer, who played his youth hockey in Grand Forks and has committed to play at North Dakota, figures to be one of the state’s top freshmen this season. A shoulder injury forced him out of Saturday’s game briefly. He said he’s learned a lot from Parker, most of it in a leading-by-example setting.
“He’s always got a positive attitude,” Panzer said. “He’s always in the locker room getting everybody pumped up. He’ll tell us what to do if we’re not doing it right and what we need to do to get going.”
The Green Wave (1-0-1) are ranked No. 4 in the Class 1A coaches’ poll after finishing fourth in the state tournament last season. Delano (0-2-0) won the Class 1A state consolation title last March and, like a year ago when the Tigers won once in their first seven games, are adjusting to several newcomers to the lineup.
“I think one of the main similarities (to last season) is we play are really tough schedule,” Delano coach Gerrit van Bergen said. “We don’t look for opportunities to make it easy at the start. We want to grow up fast.”
East Grand Forks junior Landon Parker scored twice and added an assist — all in the first period — as the Green Wave beat Delano 5-1 on Saturday. Photo by Loren Nelson, LegacyHockeyPhotography.com
Junior forward Landon Parker scored twice and added an assist as East Grand Forks completed its weekend metro road swing on Saturday with a 5-1 victory over Delano at Delano Area Sports Arena in a matchup of Class 1A state tournament qualifiers from last March.
The Green Wave, ranked No. 4 in the Class 1A coaches' poll, opened their season on Friday night at Orono, rallying from two goals down to forge a 2-2 tie. They showed no signs of fatigue for their 2 p.m. Saturday start, scoring four times in the first period, with two of those goals coming from Parker, in his third season as a varsity regular.
East Grand Forks’ Brody Schultz made it 5-1 with 2:35 left in the second on a bad-angle shot off a rush.
Earlier in the second period, Delano sophomore defenseman Colin Lommel blocked a shot, grabbed possession of the puck and raced to the other end of the rink. He was hauled down by Carson Schlenk as he approached the Green Wave (1-0-1, 0-0-0) goal. Lommel was awarded a penalty shot, but first-year East Grand Forks goaltender Austin Cooley, a senior transfer from Grand Forks, N.D., made the save on a deke attempt.
Cooley finished with eight saves. Delano goaltender Cade Lommel made 27 saves.
Senior Kory Dunnigan scored the lone No. 9-1A Delano goal in the first period. The Tigers (0-2, 0-0) were coming off Friday’s 3-2 season-opening loss to Alexandria.
The MN Hockey Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.