Dom DeGuiseppi looks back as Trevor Olson's shot hits the back of the net in overtime
Not once has Duluth East’s top line of Jake Randolph, Dom Toninato and Trevor Olson been kept scoreless in a game, and that didn’t change in the Section 7AA championship game against Grand Rapids. It may have taken 15 minutes and 30 seconds for that line to get on the score sheet, but they came through in a big way when they were called upon.
“These guys are used to playing a 1-2-2 trap the whole game so we’re used to making passes up the ice,” East’s Trevor Olson said. “Then we got into this game and Grand Rapids just pressured us all over the ice and it took us two periods to get adjusted. We came out in the third and just played out game.”
In thrilling fashion, Meirs Moore sniped a wrist-shot from the point to tie the game 1-1 with just 1:30 remaining in regulation. Then, just like they had practiced so many times before, East’s first line set up a play where Randolph went down low to feed it to Olson standing in front of the net to rifle home the game-winning goal just 26 seconds into overtime.
“The first thing I did was skate to Jake and I was just yelling,” East’s Olson said. “I didn’t really know what to do we were just skating around the ice like buffoons.”
When these two teams met in mid-January the final was also 2-1, with East taking the lead late in that game as well. But this time a trip to the state tournament was on the line.
“We were getting into desperation mode in the third period,” East’s Moore said. “We have heart on this team and we knew we could do it, but in the back of your head that thought’s in there. Give congrats to them because they played a great game and they turned us away for two and almost a whole third period.”
Grand Rapids took the first lead of the game at the 7:34 mark of the second period on a Patrick Moore rebound goal as JoJo Jeanetta was sprawled across the crease. The Thunderhawks never backed down and never skated on their heels to keep it a 1-0 until the last 90 seconds of the game. It wasn’t easy for Grand Rapids either as they had to kill off four penalties as compared to East’s one penalty.
“You’ve got to play three periods; and we did,” Grand Rapids coach Bruce LaRoaque said. “They got one more bounce than we did and they got it late. Hats off to them they are a good team. They played that puck up along the wall and got their opportunity and they did what they needed to do.”
This will be Duluth East’s third trip to the state tournament in a row and they are hoping to make it out of the first round for the first time in that span. Two years ago they lost to Cretin-Durham in the first round, and then last year they lost to Hill-Murray also in the first round.
“We’re going to do some different things down there than we have before,” Duluth East coach Mike Randolph said. “We’ll just go about things depending on who we play, but right now I haven’t even thought about it because this is just quite a thrill to get back there.”
Randolph is now 12-1 in Section 7AA championship games in his career.
“Just the way it ended. Just the way these kids fought, and fought and fought to the end,” coach Randolph said. “We had a lot of tired guys on the bench. They left everything out on the ice and that’s all we asked of them.”
1. Meirs Moore, Duluth East
Moore figured in on both goals by tying the game with 1:30 left in regulation before assisting on the game-winner in overtime. Without Moore’s wicked wrister the game would more than likely have ended with a 1-0 Grand Rapids win.
2. Trevor Olson, Duluth East
Olson took a pass from Jake Randolph and one-timed it into the back of the net for the overtime game-winning goal to send the Greyhounds to the state tournament for the third year in a row.
3. Dom DeGuiseppi, Grand Rapids
DeGuiseppi played unreal between the pipes, keeping his team ahead for most of the game and keeping the Randolph line off the score sheet for almost the entirety of the game. DeGuiseppi stopped 27 of 29 shots to give his team the best chance he could give them.