Three second-period goals proved to be more than enough for Duluth East, as they cruised to a 4-1 win over Wayzata on Saturday, Dec. 3, in Duluth.
The Hounds used their depth and persistence in the middle period to wear the Trojans out, eventually converting on a few of their numerous chances to blow a close game wide open.
Duluth East got scoring from three lines, thanks to goals by Conner Valesano, Jack Forbort, Dom Bergeland and Jake Randolph. Nine players had at least a point for the top-ranked Hounds, including Ryan Lundgren, who recorded two assists, and Dylan Parker stopped 20 shots between the pipes.
After a scoreless, back-and-forth first period, Duluth East came out flying to open the second.
Valesano got the Hounds on the board and ignited the Duluth East offense 3 minutes, 4 seconds into the middle frame with a shorthanded tally. He picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, swung wide around a Wayzata defenseman and floated a pass into the slot that bounced off a skate and in.
Bergeland scored three minutes later after Steve Holappa dished him a perfect pass in the slot, then Forbort blew the game open when he tipped in a Phil Beaulieu point-shot.
The teams traded goals in the final period, but the Hounds were too strong in the second, getting 14 shots and tons of zonetime in addition to the goals.
Holappa, Beaulieu, Dom Toninato and Nate Kotter all chipped in a single assist for Duluth East (2-0-0), who is idle until Tuesday, Dec. 6, when they’ll travel to Andover for a Section 7AA battle with the Huskies.
Alex Waszczenko scored the Trojans’ goal on a nice shot through an East defenseman’s legs. Miles Death recorded the single assist.
Alec Almquist was solid in net for Wayzata (1-1-1), stopping 32 shots in his third start of the year.
The Trojans will be back in action when they host Apple Valley on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
While manning the point last year as a freshman, Duluth East’s Phil Beaulieu used his great hands and hockey sense to be an effective member of the Hounds team that finished runners-up at the Class 2A State tournament.
Now a sophomore, Beaulieu hopes the experience he gained last year and work he put in during the offseason will help him elevate his game in his second campaign with the Hounds.
“I worked a lot on my backwards skating and defense this summer,” said Beaulieu, who finished with three goals and ten points in 30 games for Duluth East last winter. “There’s a big difference from bantams to high school – it’s faster, more physical and you have to come ready to play every night. It’s helped me a lot [to develop] by playing as a freshman, so I think that will help me this year.”
Although it’s early in the season, the results of Beaulieu’s summer are showing up already. Against Wayzata on Saturday, Dec. 3, his defense stood out – Beaulieu had several well-timed step-ups in the neutral zone, looked quicker on his transitions from forwards to backwards and added good coverage in his own end.
Beaulieu was paired with a couple different defensive partners against the Trojans and was featured near the net on the power play, but he adapted well to the variance throughout the contest.
Even with the promising results already, Beaulieu isn’t yet satisfied.
“I’m still working a lot,” Beaulieu said. “I want to work on my skating, and I want to build more chemistry with my line.”
With the work ethic and dedication Beaulieu displays, expect him to be a factor for the Hounds for quite some time.
1. Dom Toninato, Duluth East
Even though he didn’t score, Toninato was a factor all night. He made a perfect centering pass on Jake Randolph’s goal, was great along the boards and in the corners and made responsible plays in his own end.
2. Jack Forbort, Duluth East
Forbort was all over tonight – he created turnovers, looked composed with the puck and went to the tough areas in the offensive zone to make plays. Forbort, Conner Valesano and Alex Toscano were perhaps the best line for either team.
3. Miles Death, Wayzata
The senior defenseman was matched up against Duluth East’s top line for most of the night, and his efforts to keep them contained and to the outside were pretty successful. Death had the assist on Wayzata’s goal, too.