David La Vaque has covered all but one state hockey tournament game since 2009 and has worked as a Star Tribune high school sports reporter since 2004. His favorite tournament experiences include cheering for alma mater St. Paul Johnson in 1991 and staying for most of the Apple Valley/Duluth East marathon semifinal game in 1996. Loren Nelson has covered every state tournament since 2009 as the national media editor for Sport Ngin. He attended many, many other Tourney games as a high schooler from the far northern reaches of Minnesota making the annual pilgrimage south to the old St. Paul Civic Center in the 1980s.
Minnetonka and Duluth East met in a regionally televised game at packed Pagel Activities Center in Minnetonka in 2012. Photo by Adam Crane
Minnetonka and Duluth East each sit hard alongside a major lake.
Other than that (and admittedly the lake thing is a stretch), there aren’t a lot of obvious ties between the respective hockey programs. And by obvious, we mean a lengthy history of state tournament showdowns such as the one shared by Duluth East and Edina (six state semifinal meetings since 1995).
Duluth East and Minnetonka have met once in a state tournament, in the 1994 quarterfinals. The Greyhounds won 3-1.
And that’s about it for big-stage showdowns, unless you count the 2012 Hockey Day Minnesota matchup in which the regionally televised game was moved indoors to the Pagel Activities Center from the planned outdoor setting alongside Lake Minnetonka. The Skippers won that one 9-3.
Duluth East dropped Edina from its regular season schedule about 12 years ago. At about that same time, Minnetonka became a regular opponent.
The teams have met 13 times in the regular season since 2006 (including twice in Schwan Cup Gold Division tournament games). Duluth East has a 7-5-1 edge in that span, including this season’s 4-2 triumph on Jan. 6 at Pagel.
Duluth East led 3-1 going into the third period, and although Minnetonka pulled within one 2:44 into the third on a Luke Loheit goal, it never seemed like the Greyhounds were in peril. Nick Lanigan’s empty net goal with 1:29 left clinched the victory, that also include two goals from ace Duluth East forward and Mr. Hockey candidate Garrett Worth.
The Skippers played that game without star defenseman Josh Luedtke, who was recovering from a broken collarbone.
Here’s a deep dive on some of the history, shared and otherwise, between the programs:
Saturday, January 6, 2018: Duluth East 4, @Minnetonka 2 (empty net goal)
Saturday, January 7, 2017: Minnetonka 6, @Duluth East 0
Saturday, February 13, 2016: @Minnetonka 6, Duluth East 1
Saturday, February 14, 2015: Minnetonka 4, @Duluth East 4 OT
Tuesday, February 11, 2014: Duluth East 4, @Minnetonka 2
Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013: @Duluth East 4, Minnetonka 2
Friday, December 28, 2012 (Schwan Super Rink): Duluth East 4, Minnetonka 1
Saturday, January 21, 2012 (Hockey Day): Minnetonka 9, Duluth East 3
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 (Xcel Energy Center): Duluth East 6, Minnetonka 2
Saturday, January 9, 2010: @Minnetonka 6, Duluth East 2
Thursday, December 11, 2008: Duluth East 2, Minnetonka 0
Thursday, December 6, 2007: Minnetonka 3, Duluth East 2
Thursday, December 7, 2006: Duluth East 7, Minnetonka 3
Regular season series 13 games since 2006: Duluth East 7 wins, Minnetonka 5 wins, 1 tie
Minnetonka state tournament appearances (5): 1985, 1990, 1994, 2006, 2010
Minnetonka state titles: 0
Duluth East state tournament appearances (22): 1958, 1960, 1961, 1964, 1975, 1991, 1994 AA, 1995 AA, 1996 AA, 1997 AA, 1998 AA, 2000 AA, 2003 AA, 2004 AA, 2005 AA, 2009 AA, 2010 AA, 2011 AA, 2012 AA, 2013 AA, 2014 AA, 2015 AA
Duluth East state titles (3): 1960, 1995, 1998
State tournament meetings:
Duluth East beat Minnetonka 3-1 in the 1994 quarterfinals