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Howie Hanson's Northeastern Update

By Howie Hanson duluthjournal.com, 12/14/08, 9:35PM CST


Veteran columnist takes us around the competitive Northeastern portion of High School Hockey

Northeastern Minnesota's best high school boy's hockey teams, Hermantown, Denfeld and Duluth East, remain unbeaten — and all will be tested in big games this week.

Team scoring leader Adam Krause (7 goals, 11 points) had a goal and an assist to lead host Hermantown (5-0) past Andover 4-3 on Saturday. The Hawks are at non-conference Mound-Westonka (2-2) at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Denfeld (3-0) plays host to non-conference Virginia-Mountain Iron-Buhl (3-3) on Tuesday and St. Cloud Cathedral (3-2) Thursday. Both games at Heritage Center at Clyde Park will begin at 8 p.m.

Duluth East (3-0) is at Centennial (3-0) Tuesday and plays host to traditional rival Cloquet-Esko-Carlton at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the DECC. The Cougars are led by forwards Jordan Lovick (12 pts.) and Tyler Pitlick (9). Forward Willie Hess has a team-high six goals.

Forwards Jack McFarlane, Blake Abrahamson and Colton Roy have six points apiece for CEC (2-4-1). Starting goaltender Jordan Thompson is 2-3-1 with a 4.06 goals-against average and .818 saves percentage.

The No. 2-ranked Greyhounds have followed an impressive 11-0 opening-game victory over Duluth Central with consecutive 2-0 wins against Wayzata and No. 9 Minnetonka. Senior goaltender Matt Cooper boasts a 153-minute scoreless streak to open the season, and has averaged only 18 saves a game while backstopping arguably the state’s best defensive team.

East played poorly against Minnetonka, taking 12 minor penalties, and killed off two 5-on-3 penalties. Cooper kept the Greyhounds in a game they easily should have won, against the young-and-talented Skippers. Duluth East played with a lot of cockiness.

The Hunters have defeated Ashland 7-1, New Prague 5-3 and Shakopee 5-1. Senior center Cody Hotchkin has four goals and a team-eight eight points. Junior wing Jason Johnson has four goals and five points, second-best on the team.

Virginia-Mountain Iron-Buhl defeated Grand Rapids 4-0 and Hopkins 5-4. Forwards Chris Westin and Garrett Hendrickson lead the Blue Devils with 18 and 14 points, respectively. Starting goaltender Will Lustig is 2-2 with a 1.76 goals-against average.

St. Cloud Cathedral is led by forward Jordan Palusky (team-high 10 points) and defenseman Nate Schmidt (3 , 8 pts.). However, the Crusaders have lost two straight, to Little Falls 5-4 and Rochester Lourdes 5-2.

Duluth Marshall is 2-2, following a 3-2 overtime loss at Minnetonka (4-1) Saturday. The Hilltoppers are at Hibbing (2-2) Thursday and play host to St. Paul Academy (3-1-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Mars Lakeview. Minnetonka defeated visiting Hibbing 4-0 on Dec. 5.

Dane Morin and Joe Kozlak lead Duluth Marshall scorers with three points apiece. Goaltender Willie Paul has a 2.94 GAA and .916 saves percentage.

Duluth Central (2-3) is at Princeton on Tuesday and hosts Two Harbors (3-1) at 6 p.m. Thursday at Heritage Sports Center at Clyde Park. Senior forward Riley Kolquist leads the Trojans with four points. Sophomore forward Ben Wrazidlo is Duluth Central’s best college prospect.

Be sure to log on to Howie Hanson's website duluthjournal.com