Duluth East Hockey
The Hound Zone

August 1, 1999

What are we in for this season?: Had the opportunity to talk to a number of people about how the Hounds will be this season, and their responses ran the gamut from "why should they be better than last year?" to "they'll be unstoppable". I tend to think the truth lies somewhere in between.

On defense, they should be better. Dan Hoehne, with a year of varsity experience under his belt, should also be better. With the understanding, of course, that "should be" doesn't exactly mean "will be ". Team play had better be a priority for coach Randolph. No more of this "designated star" crap. Every member on this team needs the message that they are no more nor less important than anybody else. Two sets of rules is a quick recipe for disaster. Seems they had a bit of this last year.

Now, on offense, assuming Licari-Carlson-Burns are kept together on the same line, this line could do some amazing things. But beyond that, who the heck is going to step up and be a solid contributor as a second or third line? Somebody had better.

My take on this season is that they might be better, might be worse. I don't see this team being the best in Section 7AA this year. Third best, maybe, after Greenway and Elk River. Of course, somebody could come out of nowhere (as the Carlson brothers did two years ago), and change all that. Or not. It would seem, at this point, that to the extent the Hounds believe in the team concept and play as they do, they'll be successful.

December 1, 1999

Other local action last night: Cory Lennartson had a had trick, leading Cloquet to a 9-1 win over Superior at Wessman Arena. Hermantown outshot Chisago Lakes 42-9 en route to a 6-1 victory. Billy Patton led the way with three goals and an assist. Eveleth got goals from five different players, defeating Mesabi East 8-2. Duluth Marshall, despite 16 penalties, handily beat Ely 8-3.

December 4, 1999

East 6, Edina 1. First, the good news. Elk River, acclaimed by many (including me) as the best team in Minnesota this season, is out of Section 7AA and has been moved to 4AA. Let Anoka, Blaine, Osseo, etc deal with them now LOL.

Second, the better news. East might be young this season, but they appear to be very good, with the qualification that one game sometimes doesn't tell much, but they flat-out hammered Edina today. Three lines all contributed with two goals apiece. The first line of Carlson/Licari/Burns is dominant. I don't recall a line like theirs since the Spehar/Locker/Wheeler line that tore up the state in 1995-96. They're almost that good.

I had earlier questioned who would step up to help out on the other lines, and it seems that question has been answered for now. Tommy Kolar and Eric Johnson play with a lot of fire and determination. The third line isn't bad, either. On defense, Tom Sawatske plays like a veteran, but he's only a sophomore. I'm impressed. The other blue-liners held their own today. Execution could have been better at times, but remember this is a young team. To come out and play this well in the first game of the season is cause for much encouragement.

I don't know if Edina is down this season; pollsters apparently don't think so, and had Edina in the top 10 in Class AA in this week's Let's Play Hockey ratings. Maybe East is that good and took Edina out of their game?

Very solid game also in nets by Dan Hoehne. His "trial by fire" in his sophomore year has led to a year's experience and he just looks more confident in the nets.

It was vital for this team to get off to a strong start in their first game. The month's schedule isn't for the faint of heart, with Hill-Murray, Elk River, Osseo, White Bear Lake, Edina (again), Hill-Murray (again) and Bloomington Jefferson among the teams the Hounds will face in December. The main question now is; as a young team, will be be up-and-down? Will they play with consistency? We'll know the answer in the next few weeks.

December 7, 1999

Hill-Murray 1, Duluth East 0. Despite a 1-0 loss, this game was a heck of a lot of fun to watch as two of the top six rated teams in Class AA in Minnesota faced off tonight at the DECC. Impressions on this game:

  • Hill-Murray's first line is very good, possibly as good as the Carlson-Licari-Burns line. They matched up well.

  • Pioneers biggest strength is on the defense; big, strong and they clear the slot very well. Not many rebounds left where a Hounds player could pounce on it. They also clear the puck well, and are backed up by some very strong goaltending.

  • East played well enough to win, and outshot the Pioneers handily (although the shot count announced as 27-11 is questionable; I think the official scorekeeper might have had red-and-grey glasses LOL).

  • When the bounces don't go your way, you gotta skate away and hopefully say that you played well and could have won. East players should do this.

  • Tommy Kolar continues to impress me a lot, as does Tom Sawatske.

  • This game left me feeling better about the Hounds than I did before the game started, and the game against White Bear Lake on Friday will be very interesting, to say the least.
    December 10, 1999

    East 5, White Bear Lake 2. Rule number one: Sometimes when you outplay an opponent, you lose.

    Case in point: Hill-Murray 1, East 0 last Tuesday night. Despite a very good performance, the Hounds ran into a goalie with the hot hand and lost.

    Rule number two: Sometimes when you get outplayed, you still win.

    Case in point: Tonight up in Cloquet where White Bear Lake had the better of the play for the majority of the game. The second period was brutal, as the Bears erased a 2-0 deficit as they outshot the Hounds 9-1. Had a feeling the Hounds were lucky to get into the locker room tied after that period.

    And here's where Rule number three comes into play: If you keep plugging away and hustling, you never know where your breaks are going to come. The Hounds were looking on the verge of getting punked, but they held tough in the third period, and eventually the dam broke wide open with a three goal barrage in the last three minutes of the game.

    This was a huge win, and evidence that this may not be a rebuilding year after all. Hustle overcomes size sometimes. Speed sure can. The Hounds have both of these, and it's important that they use their strengths game in, game out.

    Special recognition goes to Dan Hoehne, who is simply blowing up. With a GAA of 1.33, and a saves percentage of .930, he's been the ultimate answer when East breaks down defensively; which hasn't happened very often so far this season.

    Tuesday night we'll find out if the Cloquet Lumberjacks are pretenders or ready to make their first serious run at a section title since 1994. Looking forward to a great game at the DECC.

    December 14, 1999

    East 7, Cloquet 2. Don't let the score fool you. Take away a few breakdowns by the Lumberjacks "D" in the third period and it's anyone's game. East led 3-1 after two, but C-town pulled to within in when East relaxed for a second while on the power play. From that point, Nick Licari and Trevor Marmon took over, Trevor gaining the first hat trick since Andy LeTourneau accomplished this feat 1/2/99 against Apple Valley.

    Pretty good performance, once they got settled. Cloquet took it to them pretty well for the better part of the first period. C-town served notice that they're back and will be a team to be reckoned with this season. Big test for them will be next Tuesday against Greenway. Big test for East will be Saturday against Elk River at the DECC.

    December 17, 1999

    Elk River 3, East 0. The Elks aren't rated top dog in Minnesota without good reason, and everyone who attended the game today found out why. They play with confidence, have great team speed, good size, they pass the puck crisply. They play extremely well in mid-ice or along the boards; it doesn't seem to matter to them. They have Mr. Hockey candidate Paul Martin leading a defense that doesn't give up many shots and gives up even fewer rebounds. They have two very good forward lines and a third line that's decent.

    East didn't play that badly, but got tentative, holding the puck too long, acting at times like they didn't want to make a mistake. Can't blame them for this; the Elks capitalize like crazy on opponent's errors.

    Yep, Jawbreaker has put together a squad that could very well win state this season. Biggest obstacle to that might be getting past Blaine in Section 4AA.

    East had a chance to make the game close when they had a two-man advantage very late in the game, and did nothing with it. It was an awful looking a power play as I've seen in awhile. Even if they had scored, the outcome was pretty much decided by then.

    Now, about Jawbreaker River.....errrrr.....Elk River's fans. The "sieve sieve sieve" chant has two things going for it; stupidity and lack of originality. Plagarizing a chant Wisconsin Badger fans started in the last 60's? Maybe they can't rub two neurons together and come up with something more original, I dunno. And the "they're too easy" chant at the end of the game. I understand Elk River frustration; with two exceptions ('93 & '99), they were also-rans in whatever section they were in during the 90's. Now they are getting a taste of what may be their first state championship ever. They better hope Paul Martin stays healthy, though, or it's back to the pack with the other hopefuls in Minnesota.

    December 21, 1999

    East 4, Osseo 3. Checked the scores archive today and it appears this is the first meeting ever between the two teams. Nice addition to the schedule by Coach Randolph, and Osseo was more than a worthy opponent. A couple more defensive breakdowns tonight by East, and they'd be 3-3 rather than 4-2.

    The first period was as bad a defensive period as I've seen by the Hounds in awhile. They came out flat-footed and Osseo took it to them, racing off to a 3-2 lead. Sure, it was aided by two power play goals, but it was still pretty ugly stuff. Can't blame Dan Hoehne for this one; he had little chance on those goals.

    By the third period (after a scoreless second period), Osseo seemed to be running a bit low on the tank and East was putting huge pressure on in the offensive zone. Time after time they came oh-so-close to scoring, until Ross Carlson made a perfect feed to Nick Licari to tie the game late in the period. It took less than a minute in overtime for Eric Johnson to end the game.

    Young defense, and it shows in their lack of consistency. Tom Allen's return will help.

    December 23, 1999

    East 13, Duluth Central 0. There are very few letups in East's schedule this season, and with all due respect to Central, this was sure to be one of them. I think that, after having such a tough schedule the first six games, East didn't know how to back off, and this is a very good thing. They treated Central just like any other opponent, and it was a big-time punking.

    Ross Carlson led the charge with four goals, but nine different players had goals. Tommy Kolar had four points, Mike Stellmaker had four points, Nick Licari and Eric Johnson had three points....did I miss anyone? Ah, the heck with it....suffice to say it was brutal out there.

    As Central's lack of depth led to their guys being gassed by the third period, East kept coming in relentless waves. It wasn't that they tried to run it up, because I only remember seeing Kolar-Carlson-Licari out there once or twice in the third period.

    Tom Allen made his return to the blue line tonight, and it gave Randolph the chance to rotate three pairs on defense, and use all four forward lines. Everybody had a chance to play; even John Malone, who spelled Dan Hoehne in nets for the third period. I'm not sure what purpose this game served other than to provide a brief respite before the Hounds hit the road next week when they appear in the Edina Holiday Classic.

    Media...DUH!! So, imagine my surprise when I got home from the game tonight and was checking out the highlights on WDIO-TV and they said the final score was 4-1 East. So did KDLH-TV. So did Varsity Online. Uhh....guys? Difference between boys hockey and girls hockey (final score of the girls game was East 4, Central/Denfeld 1). How could ALL of you get this wrong??

    Appearance is that nobody from KDLH or WDIO actually attended the game. But if they had highlight film, then somebody was there. What the hell is up with that?

    Nice reporting, guys. But what else to expect from the 300th or whatever biggest TV market in the U.S.? They have futures...in Dubuque, Iowa.

    January 8, 2000

    Bloomington Jefferson 10, East 8
    East 6, Edina 3
    East 6, Hill-Murray 3
    East 7, Moorhead 3
    Apple Valley 3, East 2

    These past five games showed that the Hounds can score with the best of them, but the defense needs to start getting it done. Problems clearing the puck out of the defensive zone are deadly; giving up two goals to an opponent (Jefferson) while on the same power play simply won't cut it.

    They rebounded nicely after that 10-8 shootout by playing reasonably well against Edina and Hill-Murray, avenging an earlier loss to the Pioneers. Overall, winning two of three in one of the best holiday tournaments in Minnesota can be considered a plus.

    Moorhead came to the DECC highly touted, but nobody expected the Hounds to build a 5-0 first period lead. Certainly I didn't. I had expected a close game, which shows how much I know sometimes. After the initial clubbing, it didn't matter that the Spuds played the Hounds very closely in the final two periods. I'm still at a loss to explain what happened in the first period; the Hounds had everything their way and did pretty much whatever they wanted.

    What can you say about the Apple Valley game? After jumping out early 1-0, the Hounds just couldn't bury their chances. Giving up that second Apple Valley goal in the last minute of the second period hurt them huge from the standpoint of momentum. To their credit, the Hounds were relentless late in the third period, and finally tied it in the last minute of regulation. Apple Valley had a chance when they went on the power play in OT, but Hoehne came up huge; East went on the power play right after that and did nothing (Burns line out of gas by then? It appeared so). The "mo" switched back to the Eagles by killing off the East power play, and they scored the game winner soon after.

    But giving up 22 goals in the past five games isn't good. January 11, 2000

    East 2, Greenway 1. A major step toward a possible top seed in Section 7AA was achieved tonight. Smirking as I think of the hype a certain player was given in the Message Board earlier this season, because the Hounds shut down the Raiders best players....period. End of story.

    Nick Licari shined tonight, first setting up Nick Nelson on a perfect pass to put the Hounds up 1-1. After surrendering a power play goal which tied the game 1-1, he blew past a Greenway defenseman and went top shelf to put the Hounds ahead to stay.

    It's not an understatement to say that this was the biggest win so far this season for the Hounds. 2-0 against section opponents, who are the ones you really have to beat to get as high a seed as possible.

    January 21, 2000

    Reader's Take

    Chris Long from KDLH NewsChannel 3 Sports, here...

    My primary reason for writing you is to commend you on the incredible amount of easily accessible information I've found on you Duluth East website. More on that later...


    You must allow me to defend the accusations you levelled on the "Hound Zone" dated December 23, 1999 (said accusations are copied and pasted at the end of this message).

    First and foremost, I acknowledge that it's our job as journalists to get the facts straight. No excuses.

    But when your only source for information provides you with erroneous information, it's really out of your hands.

    The process we use to gather scores from all our high scholl coverage is quite simple... we answer the phone.

    99% of the scores you see and hear on Channels 3 (as well as Varsity Online, the News-Tribune and all other media outlets) come in through coaches, managers or parents who phone them in. There are rare exceptions, like tonight's game against Roseau which began early enough that I was actually able to stay for the whole game... and got to see the final horn personally.

    Ordinarilly, we're only at each game for a short while. We're lucky to get a half of a hoops game, or 2 periods of hockey. There are so many schools and games in our area that our viewers are interested in. We just don't have the luxury of staying at most games for their entire duration.

    Therefore, when someone calls us with a score... unless we get conflicting information... we go with it.

    We were indeed at the East-Central game you referred to. But we left early on, when it seemed the outcome was no longer in question.

    Believe me, we were surprised when the final score was called in as 4-1 (if memory serves me correctly, we left when East scored their 3rd goal). But that was the only report we got from the game, so we were left with no other information.

    So we called it a 4-1 final.

    While I don't know who called in the score that night, typiclly it is the responsibility of the home team. So if Central was the home squad that night... you can imagine their enthusiasm for calling in a 13-0 loss. I'm certainly not accusing anyone of anything, but my experience is that it's not rare for a losing home team to either alter a final score or not call us at all with a final (which happens more often than you think).

    It's incredibly frustrating for us, but it's the only system we have.

    (side note: To be completely honest, we have all kinds of trouble getting scores from East games sometimes. I personally know a few people I can call... and the guys at WDSM radio are always helpful... but for whatever reason, East scores are among the hardest for us to get. Obviously, they're one of the most important teams to the area... so we always hear about it if we neglect to mention their score. Again... if it isn't called in... we just won't have it.)

    I've only recently been steered to your website, and I have to say it's pretty incredible. It's darn near the most well-organized and complete sites I've seen for any team at any level. I was shocked to see the 4-1 final over Roseau posted to the site (and the subsequent East-Hibbing preview) listed on the site only 45 minutes or so after the game ended.

    Believe me, I now know where to look in the future if we have any need for Greyhound info, stats or scores.

    In fact... I used your site to come up with the fact that East is 4-0 in their last 4 games against defending state champions! Roseau, Edina, Apple Valley and Jefferson. We used that tidbit on our 10:00 newscast tonight!

    While we are charged in the media with remaining neutral, I'll admit that I consider myself a huge fan of Duluth East Hockey. I live in the East school district, have a tremendous amount of admiration toward Mike Randolph and his staff, and truly respect the tradition that East gives to our entire city. You may even be able to catch me around town with my "Hounds Hockey" tee-shirt on.

    That said, I think I make more of an effort than any other sportscaster in Duluth (with the obvious exception of WDSM's Mark Fleischer) covering Duluth East. I do my best to avoid being labeled a "homer" by other supporters... but East is my team. So naturally I want to give complete and accurate information at every chance.

    That's why I felt punked in the Hound Zone when I read the column.

    Hope my info here helps ease your disdain for what we did, and how we go about the day-to-day job of covering high school sports.

    Please keep up the great work on the website, and please feel free to grab me next time you see me at a game! I'd love to chat with you fan-to-fan!!! Take care. Go Hounds!

    -Chris Long
    Sports Anchor
    KDLH NewsChannel 3


    Excellent take, the best I've seen this year. No offense, believe me; the punking wasn't aimed at you. A number of sites had the score wrong that night. But obviously an apology is in order, and I'm offering it here.

    Not surprising at all that Central wouldn't call in and say "yeah, we got whacked 13-0, everybody scored on us but East's cheerleaders and they would've scored if they handed them sticks and putt their butts out there against us". If they had won? They would've been running up 6th Ave W and through the doors to tell you about it LOL.

    But we're 3-1 against State Championship teams...Apple Valley beat us 3-2 in OT. Still, pretty impressive record considering the caliber of teams they've had to go up against this season. Even more impressive considering how young this team is. Their best hockey is ahead of them. Could be this year, certainly will be next year barring unforseen calamity.

    Good to see you (and I) are on the right side of the camp on the Randolph issue. I've been hammered more than once for it...and when they try to bring it about Randolph and lame issues such as "recruitment", especially when it's following their team getting it taken to them on the ice by the Hounds, I have an easy, one word comeback...


    Again, great stuff explaining your position on the scores reporting thing.

    February 10, 2000

    Reader's Take...Bill Nelson writes:


    First I would like to commend you for all of your hard work and dedication put into this wonderful site about Duluth East Hockey. I was not raised in this area and only moved here 6-years ago. In that time, I have grown deeply fond of the Hounds and call myself a "big fan". I think Mike Randolph is a genius and is likely among the most probable candidates for the UMD coaching position left vacant by Mike Sertich.

    I am a retired sports reporter from Maine. I covered a lot of College and High School Hockey in my time as a reporter. It was my "beat". If only I had access to a site like this in my time covering "The Game". You are doing a great job and I appreciate it.

    I would like to address a comment made by local sports anchor Chris Long in your "Hound Zone" dated January 21st. I agree with him mostly. Especially about the difficulties gathering information from literally hundreds of High School Sports programs in a viewing area. It can be an extremely frustrating endevor. I do take exception to his bragging about his coverage of Duluth East Sports. Personally, I don't think he really understands his job. It is not about being a fan of one team. It is about being a fan of the sport and covering that sport objectively. Be a fan on your own time, and give fair coverage to all the teams that you possibly can. I understand that Duluth East is the biggest thing in town and it is easier to get coverage of a team that is only across town rather that an hour-and-a-half drive away. You need to cover the team that is doing well, and the Hounds are definately doing just that (I love this team, did I mention that). Coming out and saying that you are purposefully giving more attention to a team because you are a fan is simply unprofessional.

    I would imagine that Chris is the type of person that would make the same comment to another team if they had a gripe. I think East fans would be more impressed and appreciative that they are getting coverage because of their performance and sportsmanship, rather than just because they have a fan. Love the sport. That is why we are all here. Coaches, Players, Managers, Fans, and yes even the ones who have the great pleasure of going to the games, presenting the facts, and maybe, just maybe, if you are very lucky, get paid to do so.

    So Chris. Just a bit of advise from an old man who has been there. Be who you are. That is the best thing you can do. I am pleased to know you are a fan. Drop the "ESPN wanna be" presentation, and forget about who is doing the best coverage on any sport or team. You will get nowhere with that attitude. I am of the opinion, and that is all it is, that there are other members of the local media that have done much better. I don't need to name them, because most people know who their favorite is. But for the individual that is doing the job, it is about doing the best you can do. Not how the other guy or gal is doing it.

    Back to my origional point for being here in the first place. Lee Pagen is the purest of sports reporters. He is covering a sport he loves. Not only his team, but the entire state. He is not getting paid to do so. He has a job of his own and does this in his spare time. That is what it is all about. A love of "The Game".

    Thanks for giving the fan a place to talk, and I wan't to apologize for punking Chris Long. He put his name out there, and that is a risk you take. Just like I took a risk by responding to his rantings.

    Take care & God Bless.

    GO HOUNDS!!!!!!!!

    February 26, 2000

    East 4, Hibbing 0. I gotta admit that I was apprehensive about this 7AA semi-final matchup; East going to play Hibbing in their crib and Hibbing coming off a huge win at Brainerd. The teams played fairly evenly at their earlier meeting at the DECC, and this fact wasn't lost on me.

    What I was witness to was East playing the best game I've seen them play in nearly two years. Nick Nelson started the scoring with a nice backhander over Kasey Conda's shoulder in the first minute and the Hounds were jacked. They controlled play, getting many odd-man breaks, and the score could easily have been much worse. When Hibbing had the puck, East got great defensive help from their forwards; I don't recall Hibbing having more than a few odd-man breaks of their own. The ones they had were 3 on 2 and didn't last long.

    Major props are deserved for the way East has played team defense in the past ten games; no opponent has managed more than one goal in that stretch. When I saw this team at the start of the season, the D was a bit suspect. They've come along extremely well during the course of the season, and are giving Dan Hoehne a ton of help by keeping the opponents to the perimeter. This was quite evident today. And now the Hounds are poised on the brink of a return to the State Tournament.

    It's East and Cloquet in the 7AA final. Cloquet has their best team since the 93-94 season. They're still a notch below East, in my opinion, and haven't beat the Hounds since '94. That's 14 straight wins.....huge. However, this is probably the best chance Cloquet has had to beat the Hounds in six years. My prediction is East 5, Cloquet 2. If I'm wrong, I'll wince and take it like a man. If I'm right, well.....

    March 2, 2000

    East 4, Cloquet 1 (7AA Championship). The atmosphere at the DECC tonight was electric; you'd have to go back to the '91 Section 2 final (in which East also defeated Cloquet) to find a similar atmosphere. Hardly a seat to be found and standing-room was also packed. An East-Cloquet final will do that like no other rivalry in the Northland can.

    East came out flying, outshooting Cloquet 13-1 in the first period, but Jacks goalie Josh Johnson was equal to the task, turning away every shot he faced, as the teams were tied at zero.

    The Hounds finally opened up the scoring early in the second period on a power play when Ross Carlson rapped in a rebound from just in front of the Cloquet goal. After Cloquet tied the score 1-1 on a Clay Wilson goal, they had the momentum on their side. At this point, some stupid fan threw a tin of smokeless tobacco out onto the ice, delaying play for a few minutes, and giving East the chance to regroup. Now, think about this for a minute. Your team is putting it to the other team a bit, and you get the tying goal. You have momentum on your side, and you pop that balloon by throwing something onto the ice and causing a delay? How low does your IQ have to be to do that? Double-digits....at most?

    The fan(s) did East a favor. East regrouped and grabbed the lead back later in the period on a Mike Stellmaker slap shot from outside the Lumberjacks blue line. But going into the third period, it was still anybody's game.

    East settled the issue with two more goals in the third period. The first came on a nice Eric Johnson wrister past Johnson with 13:57 to play. The second came when Zach Burns scooped up a rebound on a Nick Licari shot and buried it. After that, it was simply a matter of East holding onto their lead for another trip to the State Tournament; their seventh in the past ten years.

    March 9, 2000

    East 4, Roseau 1 (State Class AA quarterfinal). These two teams bring a ton of tradition to the State Tournament, especially Roseau. It would be a matchup between the teams which had captured the last two Class AA state championships; Roseau would be defending the title they had won in '99.

    The first period featured a few good chances, but neither team was able to capitalize on those chances. The best chance was when Klema from Roseau came in alone on Hoehne; Dan stopped the initial shot and the net came of its moorings just before the rebound was put in the net. East got the upper hand at 0:19 of the second period when Zach Burns took a nice pass from Nick Licari in the slot and beat Rams goalie Jake Brandt.

    Roseau had some very good chances as East was having problems clearing the puck out of their zone, but East held fast and then came back later in the second period with some pressure of their own. In every case, each goalie was equal to the task. The second period ended with East clinging to a 1-0 lead, yet the teams were tied with 16 shots on goal each.

    The third period once again saw an early goal, when Tom Allen blasted a shot from near the blue line to give the Hounds a 2-0 lead and a bit of breathing room. Time of the goal was 1:40. It gave East a huge boost, and they made the most of it, carrying the play in the third period much as they had in the Section 7AA final. East had a goal a couple minutes later waved off, with the refs claiming that Burns was in the crease. On the replay, his left foot was in the crease; a good call by the officials.

    It didn't matter; East did a great job of keeping Roseau's forwards to the perimeter and away from the slot area. On the offensive side, when Brandt couldn't handle the puck behind his net, Trevor Marmon stole it and scored on a wrap-around shot to put the game out of reach at 3-0.

    Roseau finally scored on a Ross Miller blast that eluded a screened Hoehne with 1:09 to go in the game. After the Rams gained possession of the ensuing face-off and Brandt out of the net for the extra attacker, East took advantage of the empty net, with Zach Burns scoring into the empty goal for a 4-1 East final.

    Very nice start for the Hounds, and their speed showed in this game. Only downside is that they need to do a better job of clearing their defensive zone.

    Other State Tournament Quarterfinals. In other Class AA action, Steve Eastman scored at 5:18 of the second overtime to lead Edina to a 2-1 victory over Hill-Murray. Hastings upended Bloomington Jefferson 4-3 in overtime on an Adam Welch goal, overcoming two goals by Jefferson forward Christian Koelling. Blaine scored three first-period goals en route to a 4-1 win over Rochester Mayo. Brandon Bochenski had two goals and an assist for the victorious Bengals.

    Class A quarterfinals began with Sauk Rapids overcame a three-goal deficit to Rochester Lourdes, rallying for a 4-3 win, led by ninth-grader Nathan Radens' two goal effort. Breck handled Fergus Falls by a 5-2 score as they outshot the Otters 29-14. Todd O'Hara had a hat trick for the Mustangs. Warroad held off Farmington 2-0 with a gritty defensive effort which only allowed 16 shots on goal. International Falls hammered Hutchinson 6-0 in the day's final quarterfinal as five different Broncos' players lit the red light.

    March 10, 2000

    East 4, Edina 2 (State Class AA semifinal). As was pointed out to me in the Message Board, much was made of Edina's stellar play in State semifinal history. In fact, before East upended the Hornets 6-2 in the 1995 semis, Edina had never lost a semifinal game, going 13-0 (including games played by Edina East) in school history.

    What was missed in this analysis is that the vast majority of these wins were attained during the Willard Ikola era, arguably the best coach in the history of high school hockey in Minnesota. Also missed was that East had been building some nice tradition of its own, going 11-2 in quarterfinals and semifinals over the past ten years.

    This was a great matchup; East's youth and speed against Edina's toughness and experience. Both teams had been on a tear; Edina was on a 14-game winning streak, including a Section 6AA championship win over Eden Prairie, regarded by most to be one of the top two teams in Minnesota. East had also won 14 straight, and hadn't allowed more than a single goal in their last twelve games. Something had to give...what gave was Edina's tradition.

    East again had some trouble clearing their defensive zone, but once again Hoehne was up to the challenge, keeping Edina off the board until the second period. Meanwhile, an East power play in the first couple minutes of the game was killed off by Edina, and the first period was scoreless despite some very good chances by both teams.

    The second period started much as the second period had in East's win over Roseau, as Ross Carlson put the Hounds up 1-0 off a rebound at the 0:24 mark. East increased their lead to 2-0 at 3:22 when Tom Allen scored through a screen on Edina goalie Chris Kapsen, but the Hounds would need more scoring to put them into the state championship game.

    The Hornets closed the margin to one goal on a power play after Mike Olds was sent to the box, with Beau Kretzman getting the goal. It put new life into Edina until two penalties put the Hounds on a 5-3 power play late in the second period. East, however, couldn't take advantage and the second period ended at 2-1.

    Pressure by Edina early in the third period was withstood by Hoehne and the Hounds, and East eventually turned it around, regaining a two goal lead at 3-1 when Nick Licari muscled his way around a defender and put a shot past Kapsen. Time of the goal was 2:42. But Edina once again closed the margin to a single goal when a long shot by P.J. Atherton was lost by Hoehne in his pads and subsequently dropped behind him over the goal line. It was a weird goal, but it gave Edina new life.

    Edina would get no closer; when they took a penalty at 12:56 for pulling down Luke Kuettel in the Hornets' slot, it put a huge crimp in their comeback. East made sure they didn't give Edina any chance at a good opportunity going the other way, and a huge save by Kapsen on Licari at the 13:35 mark denied East the goal that would put the game away. This was only temporary as Nick soon had another chance, and this time he buried the puck to give East a 4-2 win and put them into the Class AA championship game.

    Other State Tournament Semifinals. The other Class AA semifinal saw Blaine hold off a late Hastings rally to secure a 4-3 win. Matt Hendricks led the effort for Blaine with two goals. In Class A, Breck won their way to their first Class A championship game with a solid 5-3 win over Sauk Rapids on the strength of three third-period goals. Warroad made it back to the finals for the first time since 1997 with a 2-1 victory over International Falls in double overtime.

    March 11, 2000

    Blaine 6, East 0 (State Class AA championship). Going into this game, my thinking was that East would have to cut down on defensive mistakes, and would have to take advantage of their chances. What I was witness to was a Blaine team that, as fast as East is, was even faster and stronger. They played excellent team defense, had strong goaltending, and their forwards made East pay dearly for mistakes in the Hounds defensive zone.

    East was hoping that by Blaine going with primarily two forward lines, they'd wear down. Using this theory, it was absolutely necessary for East to stay close for two periods and hope their depth would win out in the third period. It didn't quite happen that way, as Blaine scored three goals in the first period to rupture whatever "theory" Hounds fans had of exploiting Blaine's weak third line and an absence of a fourth line.

    Blaine's big guns of Trevor Fischmon, Brandon Bochenski, Matt Moore, Matt Hendricks, and Scott Romfo were flying, especially through the first two periods. A 5-0 Blaine lead early in the second period rendered any comeback East could have mounted in the third period inconsequential. Bengals goalie Steve Witkowski was strong and turned away all 21 East shots.

    As I said before, East needed to keep the game close early or get the early lead to see how Blaine would react. A great chance by Nick Nelson early on was stuffed by Witkowski. The first of many mistakes by East's D resulted in a Moore goal at 6:02 of the first period. Andy LeTourneau had a very good chance to tie the score on a breakaway a few minutes after that, but he too was denied. Blaine came right back in increase their lead to 2-0 when Moore scored again, and they completed their stunning first period with a Frischmon goal just two minutes later.

    East's youth was clearly showing; once Blaine got rolling, they couldn't be stopped, and added three more goals in the second period to complete the scoring and give them their first State Championship.

    Overall, it was an excellent tournament for an East squad which most people thought was still a year away. For Blaine, it was a deserved win and a deserved championship. Despite the loss in the finals, you still had to come away from it with a very good feeling about what the Hounds accomplished this season.

    State Class A championship. Breck held off Warroad 3-2 to capture their first ever Class A championship with a solid effort.

    March 19, 2000

    End of the season. To say this was one heck of a fun season to watch would be an understatement. Several players came up huge and made some major contributions to the East effort this year. They made it all the way to the Class AA state championship game; few thought they would do that when the season started, but the seniors provided the leadership and the others matured faster than anyone could have hoped for. It's time once again to pay tribute to the 1999-2000 Hounds.

    Seniors. These four seniors made big-time contributions to the success East had this season:

  • Zach Burns
  • Ross Carlson
  • Trevor Marmon
  • Mike Olds
  • Best wishes to these four for their future and whatever they continue on to!

    Special recognition: It's time for the annual Special Awards:

    Defensive Star: Without a doubt, and for the improvement he showed from the start of the season to the end, this award goes to Weston Tardy. He was a very solid performer who could also move the puck up the ice.

    Offensive Star: Reading Bill James Baseball Abstract gave me an idea on how to determine who gets this award. His discussion of Victory-Important-RBI's was easily modified and applied to the importance of goals scored in each win.

    "Victory-Important Goals" works like this; each goal is given a value, based on how many goals are needed to win a game, divided by the total goals scored in that game. An example is that if you win 5-2, you only need three goals to win, so each goal is awarded 0.6 points (3 needed/5 scored). If you win by a single goal, say 4-3, then each goal is awarded one point (4 needed/4 scored). If you lose a game, then there are no Victory-Important goals to be awarded, because obviously you lost.

    After plugging the numbers for all the wins East had this year, the Offensive Star of the year goes to Nick Licari. Nick is a repeat recipient of this award, having won it last season, also. The numbers break down as follows: Licari (11.89 VIG), Ross Carlson (7.02), Zach Burns (6.12), Andy LeTourneau (4.86), Trevor Marmon (4.18), Tommy Kolar (3.65), Eric Johnson (3.45), Tom Allen (2.58), Weston Tardy (1.83), Tom Sawatske (1.53), Luke Kuettel (1.00), Mike Stellmaker (0.91) and Tony Sternberg (0.11)

    Most Valuable Player: Co-winners of this award for 1999-2000 are Ross Carlson and Dan Hoehne. Ross's experience, leadership, playmaking and clutch goals made him a standout player. Dan's ability to get it done between the pipes when the game was on the line, and for his improvement over last season, make him a worthy recipient of this award.

    Other Players: They might not have received an award, but they were instrumental in the Hounds state runner-up effort and are deserving listing here: Seth Amadio, Mike Olds, Zach Burns, Brian Olds, Tom Simonson, Timmy Johnson, Trevor Marmon, Nick Nelson, Mike Stellmaker, Tom Allen, Tom Sawatske, Luke Kuettel, Eric Johnson and Tommy Kolar. They had much to do with turning a very young, inexperienced team into an outstanding, poised and experienced team.

    Special thanks: Many have contributed to these pages with various insights, information and help during the past year, and any tribute wouldn't be complete without a mention of those individuals: Shawn Roed, Maury Johnson, Dan Moschet, Eric Soderberg, Kevin Oswald, Susan Anderson, Jim Nolan and countless others who have provided support and info throughout the year. Also, my thanks to Tracy Ostby for inviting me on the Roseau Rams radio network. Hopefully we can meet up again next year, preferably in some place where I don't have to climb a slippery vertical ladder to get to the broadcast booth (LOL). Thanks to everyone!

    The next season is "only" eight months away. In the meantime, I can be contacted by anyone with AOL Instant Messenger. My nickname is HoundHockey. Until then, keep it fun, keep it safe, and we'll see you next November!

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    last updated march 31, 2000