Duluth East celebrates a first period goal by junior forward Trevor Olson. Photo by Adam Crane.
By the end of the 2010-2011 season, Duluth East will be no stranger to big games - especially ones on the road.
If their recent performance - a 5-2 victory over host White Bear Lake - is any indication, the Greyhounds will be just fine.
"It was a road game so we came in here thinking 'We have to play our best game,' " Duluth East's Trevor Olson said.
"We came out and we did."
The Greyhounds' junior forward played a great game as he scored twice and added an assist.
Olson scored the first goal of the game in an unorthodox style.
Bringing the puck in on net during a breakaway opportunity, Olson's shot sailed high but richocheted off the glass and back towards White Bear Lake goaltender Michael Jordan. Jordan attempted to catch the puck but it bounced off his glove and into the net.
"At first I'm like 'Oh, I gotta get this puck, see if anybody is going high,' " Olson said describing what was going through his mind. "And then it bounces right back, right into the goal.
"So you know what - I'll take it."
As Jordan fell to the ice in disbelief, the Greyhounds immediately surrounded Olson in celebration.
"Oh my God, it was great. It was great," Olson said. "Teammates screaming. I was screaming. It felt great."
Duluth East junior forward Jake Randolph fires the puck on net against White Bear Lake senior goaltender Michael Jordan. Photo by Adam Crane.
After Olson added a power-play goal, fellow Greyhound junior forward Jake Randolph took over the Duluth East scoring duties.
On an odd-man rush, the Greyhounds - including Olson and Randolph - displayed masterful passing which ended with Randolph sneaking back-door, sitting on the post and tapping the puck into the open net.
"We have a really good line of (Trevor Olson) and Dom (Toninato) and we were moving the puck really well tonight," Randolph said. "It was a great atmosphere out there.
"It was a lot of fun - probably one of the most fun hockey games I've ever played in."
It didn't take long for the fun to continue for Randolph.
Just under two and a half minutes later, Randolph would be off to the races on a breakaway after receiving a pass from sophomore defenseman Meirs Moore.
Randolph made a pretty move, slid the puck to his backhand and put it past Jordan to give Duluth East a 4-1 lead.
"Meirs (Moore) gave me a nice pass," Randolph said. "I had a breakaway opportunity earlier in Wayzata and I missed that one.
"So I've been practicing."
Randolph was referring to the Greyhounds' first game of the year - an overtime 2-1 loss against Wayzata on Saturday, Dec. 4. A difficult defeat by a southern Minnesota team, Duluth East's only loss so far this season, that hasn't sat well with the Greyhounds from northern Minnesota.
"North and south - whenever they go at it, it's always gritty like that," Randolph said. "It was a lot of fun. We'll have games a lot like that on the road this year. It's a lot of fun."
"It's always a good win to beat a south team," Olson said. "We just came out here and played our best."
Duluth East junior forward Jake Randolph bring the puck in on White Bear Lake junior defenseman Jack Morrisette. Photo by Adam Crane.
Duluth East's Jake Randolph shined in the 5-2 victory over White Bear Lake with two goals including a memorable breakaway goal.
The Greyhounds' junior forward played in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League during the summer and fall in preparation for the varsity season. Randolph registered 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) in 23 games for Team North.
The experience seems to have made an impact as Randolph is currently tied for second on the team in scoring with 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists) in four games.
Duluth East junior forward Trevor Olson during Dec. 10 game against White Bear Lake. Photo by Adam Crane.
Teammate and fellow junior forward Trevor Olson - who scored two goals as well and also had an assist - currently leads the team with 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists).
Olson was not selected to play in the Upper Midwest HS Elite League this past fall but if he maintains his early-season performance, he may find an invitation in his mailbox next year with his name on it.
Duluth East head coach Mike Randolph had an idea what kind of game the Dec. 10 match-up between White Bear Lake would be. Perhaps most importantly, he knew how his team would play.
"Well we knew we were going to show up tonight," Randolph said. "We've always had great games at White Bear. These kids have played White Bear all the way up through the youth level. We knew going into their new building they were going to be pumped up and they were."
Although overall pleased with his team's performance, Randolph was not fond of everything he saw.
"I didn't like the goal scored on us at the end of the second," Randolph said referring to a late White Bear Lake goal scored on a deflection by sophomore defenseman Lance Carney with 31 seconds left in the second period. "That could have given (White Bear Lake) a lot of life and caused a lot of problems but we regrouped and came out and played a solid third period.
"I just thought it was a very good high school hockey game. Very intense. Crowd was into it. I thought our kids responded pretty well for a road test."
A road victory that Randolph knows will help the Greyhounds this season.
Randolph knows the difficult schedule his team has in front of them. He probably knows it better than anyone.
Before 2010 draws to a close, the Greyhounds will play Centennial, Cloquet, Moorhead and will battle the defending Class AA State Champion Edina Hornets in the first round of the Schwan Cup at Mariucci Arena.
"All of them are on the road, too," Randolph added. "So I think (the win over White Bear Lake) gets the team more confidence and an understanding that they have to be ready to go for three periods.
"We're going to Centennial next week and then we go to Cloquet and then we go to Moorhead and then we're down here with Edina. So we're gonna get road tested and that's what we like to have at this time of year."
White Bear Lake's Brandon Wahlin is used to having a lot of attention on him when he's on the ice. Wahlin currently leads the Bears in scoring with 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists) in four games.
Wahlin drew attention to himself in a different way when he struggled to get to the bench near the end of the first period. He favored his right leg as he skated slowly and looked to be in a considerable amount of pain.
As the Zamboni circled the ice during the first intermission, Wahlin stayed on the team bench for several minutes with White Bear Lake head coach Tim Sager and a trainer.
"He had some cramping in one leg after the first and in both legs between the second and third," Sager said. "Just had to get some electrolytes in him and he was fine.
"Nothing serious at all."
Wahlin skated out onto the ice after the first intermission and tested his leg - surprising several spectators at the Vadnais Heights Sports Complex who had seen in him in pain minutes earlier. The senior forward would end up starting the second period and would play for the remainder of the game.
Trevor Olson scored twice and had one assist and Jake Randolph added two goals in Duluth East's 5-2 victory over White Bear Lake on Friday, Dec. 10, at the brand-new Vadnais Heights Sports Complex.
Olson, a junior forward, scored the first two goals for the Greyhounds, including one on the power play.
Between Olson's goals, White Bear Lake tied the game at 1 on a goal by senior forward Sam Basich, who popped the puck past Duluth East goaltender Jo Jo Jeanetta.
The first period would end in that 1-1 tie, but that would be the closest the Bears would come to a lead as Olson answered early in the second with his power-play goal.
Randolph, another Greyhounds junior forward, scored the next two Duluth East goals, one of them on a breakaway opportunity after receiving an excellent pass from sophomore defenseman Meirs Moore.
White Bear Lake had a chance to capitalize on some momentum on a late second period deflection goal by sophomore defenseman Lance Carney but could not find the back of the net for the remainder of the game.
Senior defenseman Hunter Bergerson sealed the deal for the Greyhounds with a power-play goal in the third period.
White Bear Lake senior goaltender Michael Jordan made 21 saves on 25 shots.
Senior goaltender Jeanetta ended with 25 saves in the winning effort for Duluth East.
1. Trevor Olson, Duluth East
The junior forward got things going in the first on an unorthodox goal that bounced off the glass and White Bear Lake goaltender Michael Jordan for the Greyhounds' first goal of the game. Olson would add a power-play goal and provide an assist on a goal by Jake Randolph.
2. Jake Randolph, Duluth East
Randolph was quiet in the first period but came alive in the second sneaking back door to put home a goal that extended the Greyhounds' lead. Minutes later the junior forward would add a breakaway goal off a brilliant pass from teammate and defenseman Meirs Moore - a huge goal that silenced the White Bear Lake crowd.
3. Garen David, White Bear Lake
Although he did not find the net, David (pictured above) provided first-period theatrics as he leveled Duluth East's Steven Holappa and then followed the hit with a powerful slap shot that rang off the post. The senior forward and co-captain assisted on Sam Basich's first period goal and played hard throughout the game in the offense, defense and neutral zones.