Duluth East junior Ricky Lyle scores the second of his three goals in the Greyhounds' 9-1 victory over Duluth Marshall on Monday in a Class 2A, Section 7 semifinal at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Photo by Loren Nelson, legacyhockeyphotography.net
Ricky Lyle doesn’t have the same pedigree as some of his more decorated Duluth East teammates.
Lyle wasn’t a youth hockey superstar. Far from it.
“He’s improved so much,” Duluth East senior Garrett Worth said. “When he was a Pee Wee, I was scared he wasn’t going to make it past Bantams.”
Lyle, who scored three goals on Monday night in the No. 1-seeded Greyhounds’ 9-1 Class 2A, Section 7 semifinal romp over No. 5 seed Duluth Marshal at Duluth’s Amsoil Arena, wasn’t an instant phenom at the high school level, either. Far from it.
“He’s come so far since he was a freshman,” Duluth East coach Mike Randolph said. “I don’t know what his ceiling is.”
Randolph is right. With Lyle, there’s no telling what he might do next. On Monday, he scored his first goal early in the first period to put the Greyhounds, ranked No. 3 in Class 2A in the latest state coaches’ poll, ahead 2-0. He scored again with 39 seconds left in the opening period to make the score 4-0. Lyle finished off his hat trick, and all but did the same to the Hilltoppers, by scoring 42 seconds into the third to make it 5-0.
The hat trick was Lyle’s third of the season (he actually scored four goals in a late-January win over Prior Lake). He has 19 goals this season, second most on the Greyhounds (22-2-3). That’s a monumental jump from his five-goal total from last season.
“Working with (Coach Randolph) every day, from freshman year up until now, it’s been great,” Lyle said. “With him pushing everybody, and pushing me, I just keep getting better and better.”
The 6-foot, 185-pound Lyle plays a physical game. He likes to work the corners. He likes to station himself in front of the net. He’ll take the occasional penalty. Throw in his knack for scoring goals, not to mention his unmatched work ethic, and you’ve got a highly dangerous player.
“It’s really great to see him score like that,” Worth, who scored twice on Monday, said about Lyle. “I mean, he works so hard. His work ethic is unbelievable. To watch him get goals like that is really special. He deserves it.”
Duluth East reaching the Section 7 title game is standard stuff. The Greyhounds will be making their 10th straight championship game appearance at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Amsoil Arena against Andover. What was wholly unexpected was the way in which Duluth East dismantled their intracity rival. The Greyhounds outlasted Duluth Marshall (17-8-2) in overtime in the team’s lone regular season meeting.
“I never expected this,” Randolph said. “Are you kidding me? No way. They’ve got some very good players. Very good, high-end players.
“We were on fire. They just caught us on a night when we played an A-plus game.”
Duluth East's Garrett Worth (5) beat Duluth Marshall goaltender Cam Brandt for the first of Worth's two goals on Monday night in a 9-1 Class 2A, Section 7 semifinal win over the Hilltoppers at Amsoil Arena in Duluth. Photo by Loren Nelson, legacyhockeypho
Junior Ricky Lyle scored three goals, and senior Garrett Worth had two on Monday night as No. 1-seeded Duluth East cruised to a 9-1 victory over No. 5 seed Duluth Marshall on Monday night in a Class 2A, Section 7 semifinal at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
The game was stunningly lopsided, given that Duluth East, ranked No. 3 in Class 2A in the latest state coaches’ poll, needed overtime to top Duluth Marshall 3-2 on Dec. 21.
Duluth East (22-2-3) advances to the section title game on Wednesday at Amsoil Arena against either Andover or Elk River.
Overtime never seemed like a possibility in the rematch, as the Greyhounds scored three goals in the opening 9 minutes, 14 seconds, led 4-0 after the first period and were ahead 5-0 just 42 seconds into the third period when Lyle scored his third of the night.
Senior Levi Stauber scored the lone goal for Duluth Marshall (17-8-2) to cut Duluth East’s lead to 5-1, but the Greyhounds led 7-1 by the end of the second. The third period was played in running time because of Duluth East’s six-goal lead, and Worth and Logan Anderson chipped in goals to complete the scoring.
Duluth East goaltender Parker Kleive made 13 saves. Duluth Marshall starting goaltender Cam Brandt made 22 saves on 27 shots through the first two periods. Alex Busick came on in relief in goal for Duluth Marshall in the third period and stopped five of seven shots.
Duluth East's Ricky Lyle (15) celebrates after scoring the second of his three goals on Monday in the Greyhounds' 9-1 Class 2A, Section 7 semifinal victory over Duluth Marshall. Photo by Loren Nelson, legacyhockeyphotography.net
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