Duluth East's Dom Toninato (19) firest a shot past Eden Prairie defenseman Dan Molenaar. Photo by Helen Nelson
Duluth East junior Dom Toninato scored twice, including in overtime, in the Greyhounds' victory over Eden Prairie. Photo by Helen Nelson
You can have ’em.
Duluth East is more interested in the numbers that are displayed most prominently on the scoreboard.
You know, the goal total.
“We just like to move the puck around in the offensive zone and look for some nice plays, and hopefully get a backdoor tap-in or a goal like that,” said Duluth East forward Dom Toninato, who scored twice as the No. 6-ranked Greyhounds upended No. 1 Eden Prairie 4-3 in overtime on Saturday, Jan. 15, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
“I don’t think (the shot total) is too big of a deal,” Toninato said. “As long as their shots aren’t too high of quality.”
While the Eagles were peppering Duluth East’s JoJo Jeanetta with shots from long range, short range and all points in between – the senior goaltender was brilliant in making 29 saves – the Greyhounds were more methodical in their approach. They were more content to work the puck around the edges of the rink, probing for weaknesses in Eden Prairie’s senior-dominated defense.
The few times Duluth East (12-2-0) did pull the trigger – the Greyhounds were credited with 14 shots – their chances usually were of five-star quality.
“We’re a different kind of team now,” Duluth East coach Mike Randolph said. “(Eden Prairie) shoots, and they converge on the net. That’s them. We work the puck a little bit more.”
Which isn’t to say every Duluth East goal is destined to become a YouTube phenomenon.
Example A would be Toninato’s winner 52 seconds into overtime. Stationed in the slot, he simply redirected a shot by Meirs Moore. The puck, after glancing off Toninato’s stick, skidded through traffic and, eventually, dribbled past Eden Prairie goaltender Andrew Ford.
“That’s kind of what we expected,” Eden Prairie senior Luc Gerdes said in reference to the type of goal scored in the extra session, not the team that scored it. “That’s an overtime kind of goal. That’s what it takes.
“You know, we beat them in a lot of areas of the game, we just didn’t beat them on the scoreboard. It happens that way sometimes.”
Eden Prairie's Kyle Rau, left, and Duluth East's Dom Toninato each scored twice in East's 4-3 overtime victory. Photo by Helen Nelson
Eden Prairie (10-3-0) twice rallied from one-goal deficits in the third period. Eagles senior Kyle Rau scored to tie it at 2 just 1 minute, 22 seconds into the third. After defenseman Hunter Bergerson had scored for Duluth East, Rau tied it at 3 with 2:51 left in regulation.
“He’s a great player,” Randolph said about Rau, a University of Minnesota recruit who is among a handful of top candidates for this season’s Mr. Hockey award. “I thought we did a pretty good job on him, actually.”
Toninato also scored in the second period for the Greyhounds. He has 14 goals this season to share the team lead with linemate Trevor Olson. Both of Toninato’s goals came on the power play. This season Greyhounds are converting their power-play opportunities at a 38-percent clip.
“They’re all five guys pretty talented players,” Randolph said about the unit that includes Toninato, Olson and Jake Randolph, Mike's son. “They are instinctive hockey players who see openings and they find each other.”
The victory was the third in five days for the Greyhounds, who beat Anoka 5-1 on the road on Tuesday, then notched a 2-1 win at home over No. 7-ranked Grand Rapids on Thursday before beating the Eagles.
Duluth East’s bench cleared after Toninato’s goal, as he was mobbed by teammates along the boards.
“That’s gotta be right up there at the top,” Toninato said about where his overtime goal ranks among his career highlights. “Playing in front of the home crowd in a great arena ... getting the overtime winner against the state’s No. 1 team. It felt great.”
It was, no doubt, a signature victory for the Greyhounds, who had lost by a goal to Twin Cities powerhouses Wayzata (in overtime) and Edina earlier in the season.
“We want to show, and we want (Greyhounds players) to realize that we can beat the top teams,” Mike Randolph said. “We felt that we played with Edina, that we played with Wayzata. So we wanted to make a statement within in our room that we can’t just play with them, we have to beat them.”
Senior JoJo Jeanetta makes one of his 29 saves against Eden Prairie. Photo by Helen Nelson
Duluth East’s JoJo Jeanetta hasn’t played in a lot of advanced festivals or elite leagues. He hasn’t traveled the country showcasing his abilities in select camps.
Under the radar?
It’s hard to say that about a goaltender who plays for a high-profile Class 2A program and leads the state in goals-against average (1.20) and ranks second in save percentage (.948).
Still, Jeanetta didn’t make the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League last fall. He didn’t even get a spot in the Hockey Hub’s “Who is the state’s top senior goaltender?” poll.
“He’s been fantastic,” Duluth East coach Mike Randolph said. “He’s been our steadiest player.”
Jeanetta played in the state Class 2A tournament as a sophomore and again last season. He missed Duluth East’s three games in the Schwan Cup Gold Division during the holiday break because of a bout with pink eye, but his health certainly has not been a concern as of late.
Jeanetta was brilliant in turning aside 29 shots in Duluth East’s 4-3 victory over No. 1-ranked Eden Prairie on Saturday, Jan. 15.
“Their goalie is unreal,” Eden Prairie forward Luc Gerdes said. “He was very Shaughnessy-like.”
The reference was to Hill-Murray’s Tim Shaughnessy, one of the many goaltenders who has more name recognition than Jeanetta.
At least for now.
Junior forward Dom Toninato scored a power-play goal 52 seconds into overtime as Duluth East beat Eden Prairie 4-3 in a north-south matchup of state powers on Saturday, Jan. 15, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
Toninato’s deflection goal sparked a wild celebration along the boards for the No. 6-ranked Greyhounds (12-2-0) as they knocked off the No. 1 Eagles (10-3-0) after losing overtime games earlier in the season to Wayzata and Edina, two other top-five ranked metro juggernauts.
Senior forward Kyle Rau, a University of Minnesota recruit, scored twice in the third period as Eden Prairie twice rallied from one-goal deficits.
Toninato also scored in the first period for the Greyhounds, who on Thursday beat No. 6 Grand Rapids 2-1.
JoJo Jeannetta was stellar in goal for Duluth East, finishing with 29 saves. Andrew Ford made 10 saves for the Eagles.
1. Dom Toninato, Duluth East
The junior forward’s deflection goal in overtime will undoubtedly rank among the top highlights of the Greyhounds’ season – no matter what happens the rest of the way. If that wasn’t enough to make Toninato first-star material, he also added a first-period goal.
2. Kyle Rau, Eden Prairie
The senior Mr. Hockey candidate’s reputation as the Eagles’ Mr. Clutch was only enhanced with his two goals in the third period. He has a team-best 18 goals this season.
3. JoJo Jeanetta, Duluth East
Jeanetta was busy from start to finish, stopping shots from seemingly everywhere on the rink as he finished with 29 saves. Jeanetta was masterful controlling the rebounds, giving the Eagles only a handful of really good second-chance opportunities. With his latest stellar performance, Jeanetta moved to first in the state with a 1.20 goals-against average and second overall with a .948 save percentage.
Eden Prairie's Kyle Rau. Photo by Helen Nelson