Duluth East's Ricky Lyle (right) and Austin Jouppi celebrate the Greyhounds’ overtime game-winning goal Thursday in the Class 2A, Section 7 championship game against Andover. The Greyhounds won 3-2. Photo by Dave Harwig, Viewthroughmylens.net
Logan Anderson didn’t wake up Thursday morning thinking he would become an unlikely hero by day’s end. It just worked out that way.
Anderson, a sophomore forward, redirected a shot from behind him 4:50 into overtime to lift Duluth East to a 3-2 victory over Andover in the Class 2A, Section 7 final at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
It capped off a frenzied finish for the No. 3-ranked Greyhounds, who fought back from a two-goal deficit to fend off the upstart Huskies (22-6) and punch its first trip to the state tournament in three years.
“Any great team has it in them to come from behind,” Anderson said. “That’s the true character of a team; anyone can play with a lead.”
With the Greyhounds (22-2-3) on the ropes and after a Moorhead loss Wednesday to St. Michael-Albertville, northern Minnesota was in legitimate danger of being shutout of the state tournament. That drama was not lost on Duluth East, as coach Mike Randolph even made it part of his pregame speech.
“We knew we were the only northern team alive,” Randolph said. “And it would not be good if there is no northern team represented down there. We were really looking forward to that challenge.”
After being outshot 19-3 over the opening 17 minutes, Andover struck first on a Luke Kron goal 1:09 into the second period. A short time later, Charlie Schoen went backhand, top shelf on a breakaway, and the Huskies’ were brewing the upset special.
With poor execution in the first period growing worse in the second, the Greyhounds were treading water.
“We just weren’t at our game, and we needed to get to our game for us to have a chance,” Randolph said. “We finally got back to our game in the third period.”
As Duluth East pounded Andover goalie Ben Fitsinger with shots, Fitsinger continued to keep a lid on it, en route to a 50-saves night. Then, a Brendan Baker goal 4:57 into the third swung the momentum into the Greyhounds' hands.
Playing from behind is not familiar territory for Duluth East, which averages nearly six goals per game. It was a crisis and an opportunity rolled into one.
“Our guys have never been in this spot before, so now it’s like, how are we going to react,” Randolph said. “Is everybody going to try to do it by themselves? That isn’t going to get it done. We needed to find a way as a team to get it done.”
With an empty net, Duluth East got the equalizer with 1:14 remaining when Ryder Donovan delivered a centering pass from behind the net that bounced around in the crease before crossing the line.
Going into the extra session, the Greyhounds knew the game could go either way but felt good about their chances.
“I just felt like it was one of those nights where the puck is not going to fall for us,” Randolph said. “We could have just as easily had nine goals, but their goalie was really good. That’s hockey. The other night we scored nine goals, and tonight, we really had to grind.”
Now, Duluth East heads south to the state tournament for a 23rd time in school history. But this time, the Greyhounds feel like they will be representing the entire 218 area code.
“Being the only northern team in the state is going to be a blast,” Anderson said. “We play physical and the traditional northern style, but we also have a great deal of skill. That’s two great assets to have.”
Duluth East goaltender Parker Kleive stops a shot by Andover's Holden Dunleavy during Thursday's Class 2A, Section 7 championship game at AMSOIL Arena. The 'Hounds defeated the Huskies 3-2 in overtime. Photo by Dave Harwig, Viewthroughmylens.net
Duluth East sophomore forward Logan Anderson scored the game-winner 4:50 into overtime to help the Hounds complete a comeback and escape with a 3-2 victory in Thursday night’s Class 2A, Section 7 championship at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
The Greyhounds trailed 2-0 heading into the third period before finding their footing down the stretch, and clinched their first trip to the state tournament in three years.
Andover (22-6) sophomore Luke Kron opened the scoring 1:09 into the second period when he redirected a shot from the point. A short time later, teammate Charlie Schoen weaved his way through a pair of Duluth East defensemen and shoveled in a backhand shot, top shelf, to push the No. 8-ranked Huskies out front 2-0.
The Greyhounds (23-2-3), ranked No. 3 in the latest coaches’ poll, started rolling after Brendan Baker scored the team’s first goal 4:57 into the third period.
With an empty net, the Greyhounds earned the equalizer on Ryder Donovan’s goal with 1:14 left, setting up the extra session.
Duluth East took the momentum into the overtime period, where Anderson finished things midway through the frame.
Andover sophomore goaltender Ben Fitsinger finished with 50 saves in the loss, while Duluth East goalie Parker Kleive finished with 18 stops.
Andover goaltender Ben Fritsinger makes a save on Duluth East's Ryder Donovan, one of 50 shots stopped by the Huskies goalie in Thursday night's 3-2 loss Thursday night. Photo by Dave Harwig, Viewthroughmylens.net
Duluth East's Nick Lanigan fights for a rebound between Andover goalie Ben Fritsinger and defenseman Eric Chartier late in the first period Thursday at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
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