Duluth East Hockey
Jottings and Notes on the 1998-99 Season
January 1999

January 2, 1999

East 8, Apple Valley 2. Sometimes rivalries can occur in the strangest places. You wouldn't think that there would be a rivalry between these two schools. No geographic closeness, no long history of matchups, not in the same section. There is, however, the five-overtime East-Apple Valley game in the 1996 State Class AA semi-finals, won by Apple Valley. Since that game, they've played three times and East has dominated each game. Like tonight's game.

Seventeen penalties were called in this game, as the refs tried to keep things under control. It worked...somewhat, but the rough stuff was pretty extreme at times. East converted four of their seven power plays, and also scored short-handed on one of Apple Valley's power play attempts. The Eagles, on the other hand, only converted one of their four power play attempts. Take those power plays away, and you have a 3-1 game. The 3-1 even-strength margin is misleading. It should have been a wider margin. Andy Letourneau scored East's first hat trick of the season, and nearly had four goals when he clanked a shot off the pipe while East was short handed; he already had one short-handed goal.

East took a 3-0 first period lead on the strength of goals by Mike Marshall, Jon Hedberg (power-play) and Andy Letourneau (short-handed). They controlled the play very nicely througout this period and had me salivating in anticipation of yet another Victory Polish. (The Victory Polish, by the way, is what my snack is between the second and third period when East has at least a three goal lead in a game played at the DECC. Only once have the Hounds squandered such a lead, when Superior came back from three goals down earlier in the season, until East scored the game winner)

East quickly scored two goals in the first 1:33 of the second period, putting the game out of reach, on goals by Charlie Norris and Letourneau. Apple Valley finally got on the board while on the power play at 12:06, but Letourneau completed his hat-trick at the 13:34 mark. There were five penalties called in this period, but that was overshadowed by the ten penalties called in the final period, making the penalty box look like a small village at times. Apple Valley closed the margin to 6-2 at 9:01 of the third period, but East put the game into running time at 15:37 with two more goals (both by Chad Roberg, assisted by Marshall and Weston Tardy).

Apple Valley is down this year (with a 1-11-1 record), but the only worse defeat they've suffered so far this season was when they were pounded by Edina 8-1 in their first game. They weren't very good last season, either, and it's curious how a program which was so good in the early to mid 90's could have fallen on such hard times. Rebuilding? Who knows?

A very strong win for the 9-2 Hounds going into their Tuesday game at Greenway.

January 5, 1999

East 3, Greenway 1. A great defensive effort, led by goalie Dan Hoehne's best game of the season, led to the Hounds win tonight. This was made more impressive by the fact that it was another road win, and showed that East could go into a tough environment and play with one of the better teams in the state.

After a scoreless first period that saw each team put eight shots on goal, Mike Marshall got East off with a power play goal at 4:29 of the second period. Each team had great chances later in the period, but Hoehne denied Gino Guyer, and then a Charlie Norris shot hit the pipe. Norris took a penalty at 13:12, but East killed off the Raiders power play very well; in fact, Chad Roberg almost got a short-handed goal during the two-minute Greenway advantage.

Greenway came out very strong in the third period, with Josh Miskovich hitting a pipe in the first 15 seconds, and East was forced to ice the puck twice in the first two minutes to relieve the pressure. Mike Marshall gave East a two goal lead at 2:32, assisted by Tom Kolar and Andy Letourneau. Greenway continued with the pressure over the next several minutes and it paid off with a goal at the 11:17 mark by Andy Sertich. But Greenway would get no closer, and after pulling their goalie in the final minute, Nick Licari sealed the victory with an empty netter with three seconds to go.

Possibly the best overall effort so far this season, and a huge win from the standpoint of being a confidence builder and helping East secure a higher seeding when the Section 7AA pairings are announced next month.

Other local action. Tony Tomaino scored late in the third period to lead Duluth Marshall to a 4-3 win over Two Harbors at Lakeview Arena. Sean Buckley scored two goals as Silver Bay won on the road at Ely 6-2. Proctor built a 5-2 lead and then hung on for the 5-4 win against visiting Hermantown. Kyle Tomaich scored four goals as Duluth Central defeated Mesabi East 8-5.

January 12, 1999

East 9, Superior 2. The last time these two teams met, East needed a short-handed goal by Chad Roberg to seal a 5-4 win after squandering a three goal lead going into the third period. Tonight, East made sure the Spartans would have no chance at a comeback as they scorched Superior for five second period goals.

East came out on fire from the first drop of the puck, outshooting Superior 22-4 in the first period, but only had a 1-0 lead to show for it on a Jon Hedberg goal. The Hounds lit up the goal light in bunches in the second period, scoring three goals in the space of 29 seconds, beginning with Hedberg getting his second goal at 1:53. Mark Anunti followed that 18 seconds later, and then it was Chad Roberg's turn only 11 seconds after East's third goal. The Hounds now had a 4-0 lead, but they refused to sit back and protect the lead, and later in the period added two more goals spaced 14 seconds apart (by Mike Marshall and Zach Burns).

Nick Serre made it 7-0 at 50 seconds into the third period on a power play goal, and when Mike Marshall and Chad Roberg also scored later in the period, the destruction was complete. Two late Superior goals on replacement goalie John Malone served to prove nothing other than to deny the Hounds a shutout.

After the rough play between the two teams in their first meeting, the Hounds had more than a little incentive to prove themselves in a class well above the Spartans, and they did just that. Final shots on goal were 57-11 in favor of the Hounds.

Other local action. A furious third period rally where Duluth Central scored four goals fell short in a 6-5 loss to Lake Of The Woods, despite outshooting LOTW 36-27. Cloquet managed only 10 shots on goal while being pounded 7-0 by Greenway in a game played in Coleraine. O.J. Bottoms scored 17 seconds into their game with Duluth Denfeld, and Hibbing never looked back, winning 7-1 at the DECC.

January 14, 1999

East 10, Proctor 1. Any assumptions that East would be looking ahead to their upcoming game with Hastings and not focused on this game were erased in a three goal first period on their way to another easy win. Once again, they provided the knockout punch in a furious second period attack that saw them score six times.

They wasted little time getting started tonight, Nick Licari scoring 1:01 into the game, assisted by Zach Burns. Andy Letourneau got his second short-handed goal of the season at 9:16. Ross Carlson, seeing his first action since injuring his shoulder in the Edina game, scored on a nice play late in the period. The reunion of linemates Licari and Carlson would prove to be one of the keys tonight.

Things went from good to even better in the second period, as East totally dominated en route to building a 9-0 lead heading into the second intermission. Six different players scored during this period (eight different players had goals tonight), as they blew Proctor off the ice and sent the game into running time for the third period. Dan Hoehne, for the second straight game, left after playing most of the game having surrendered no goals, and John Malone let in the lone Rails goal in the third period.

The main Proctor line of Dardis-Slattengren-Upton was pretty much shut down, although they did apply some sporadic pressure. When that first line wasn't on the ice, East was totally dominant. Shots on goal for the game were 41-15 in favor of East. Another strong effort all around by the Hounds going into their battle against Hastings next Saturday.

Other local games. Silver Bay outshot Duluth Denfeld 43-17 on their way to a 5-0 shutout at the DECC. Sean Buckley led the Mariners with two goals and an assist. Superior won a close one at home by defeating Two Harbors 4-3.

January 16, 1999

Hastings 6, East 3. In a rematch of last year's State quarterfinal win by East, Hastings used their size, speed and playmaking to hand the Hounds their first loss at the DECC since 1995. East got off to a quick 2-0 lead on the strength of goals by Ross Carlson (while short-handed) and Mike Marshall, and it appeared the Hounds were in good shape.

Hastings had other ideas. They also had senior stars such as Dan Welch, Jeff Taffe and Ben Tharp, and they capitalized on opportunities very well. They closed the gap to 2-1 with a Welch goal at the 13:45 mark of the period. An East power play, started just before the end of the first period, resulted in disaster when the Raiders scored a short-handed goal of their own 1:36 into the second period. Nick Husting got the tally for Hastings. From there, it just snowballed on East. Hastings converted a power play opportunity midway through the second period, and increased their lead to 4-2 with less than four minutes left in the period.

Their speedy forwards gave East problems; the kind of problems that East couldn't seem to adjust to. East needed a goal to get back into the game, but Welch gave Hastings a three-goal lead 2:32 into the third period. Pete Swanson dealt East's chances the death blow less than three minutes later. East came back and put some very good pressure on Hastings late in the game, and it paid off when Nick Licari scored at 11:46. But it was too little, too late.

Overall, East's play was erratic. They looked very good at times, and totally outmatched at others. Dan Hoehne played well, but on most of Hasting's goals he had little chance.

It's not exaggerating when I say that Hastings is the best team I've seen play East in the past 20 years. The 1976 Mounds View team who beat East in the Region 2 finals that year at the DECC, was similar in speed. Hastings is as good as that team was, but it's tough to compare teams who played 22 years apart. Suffice it to say that Hastings is much better than their #9 state Class AA rating by Let's Play Hockey indicates.

January 20, 1999

Heading into the home stretch I was going to write this a week ago, when East had a ten game winning streak going, talking about how promising things looked. There were concerns I also had at the time, but I shoved them into the back of my mind; after all, how can you criticize a team that had ten wins in a row?

It's a week later, and they're on the tail end of back-to-back losses to Hastings and Hibbing (4-2). I've said on my disclaimer/philosophy page that so long as 100% effort is put out, it's okay to lose. But it's not what I'm seeing. Without naming names, there are certain players who need to remember that there is no "I" in "team". Individual glory, this attitude of "I want the score", of trying to do too much by themselves, is a recipe for disaster. The results of the last two games are evidence of that.

I see a team right now that could go one of two ways. First way is that they remember that the team is only going to be as good as the commitment to win as a team and to leave the personal accomplishment thing behind. If they can do this, then win or lose, they can walk away knowing that they did the best they could.

Or, they can think of themselves, whine when things don't go the way they think they should, and end up with an early exit from the Section 7AA playoffs, with a semi-final or quarter-final loss.

The most inspirational player I've seen on the ice for the Hounds this season has been Zach Burns; no question about it. 100% effort every time he steps on the ice. He's not the only one, but it's time for the entire team to adopt that attitude. Time for the defense to start giving Dan Hoehne the kind of help they did earlier. The Greenway game comes to mind here.

The talent is there, but how that talent asserts itself is critical. It's time for better passing, and to get away from the attitude of "I can make it happen by myself". Time for better discipline, not only defensively but on offense as well. I get the feeling that this is a team still trying to find itself, still juggling the lines trying to come up with the perfect combinations. When you are doing this 16 games into the season, it does not bode well for the upcoming games.

So, which direction will this team take? Will the real leaders step up and crank up the rest of the players? Time will tell.

January 21, 1999

East 7, Two Harbors 1. Took East nearly the entire first period to start playing with some meaning. A decent second period effort where they took a 2-1 first period advantage and increased it to 6-1, sealed the win. They got by with what amounted to a one period serious effort against Two Harbors. If they try this against a much better team, turn out the lights.

January 28, 1999

Hermantown 4, East 2. Some more "firsts" apply to this game. First win ever for Hermantown against the Hounds. First Lake Superior Conference loss for East in more than four years (go back to their Jan. 10, 1995 loss to Duluth Denfeld to find the last LSC loss). First time they've lost three games in a four game stretch since the 1992-93 season.

Give one hell of a lot of credit to the Hawks. They out-hustled, out-passed and out-hit East. East had the edge on shots on goal, but Hermantown had more good-quality chances, and they took much better advantage of their chances. They played defense as a team, with their forwards chipping in and helping out. That's called back-checking for those unfamiliar with the nuance LOL.

There are yet more lessons to be learned from this game. Does Randolph have what it takes to drill those lessons into certain players' heads? Maybe. Maybe not.

I'll say this one more time, in bold face for those who are visually impaired. If you lose while putting out maximum effort, that's okay. If you have certain players who are only interested in offense and scoring, you can bench them until they learn to quit this pursuit of personal glory crap. Or you can let them keep playing the way they have been, and read the write-up about yet more needless losses in the future. STATS DON'T COUNT. NEITHER DOES WINNING OR LOSING. Effort and attitude are everything.

Still time to wake up, but time is getting short. The Grand Rapids game this Saturday could provide some clues.

January 30, 1999

East 4, Grand Rapids 3. A game in which East built a 4-1 lead after two periods, and then let the Thunderhawks back in it, holding on for the victory. A slightly better defensive effort than in some of the previous games (Rapids had 20 shots on goal).

Grand Rapids has struggled more this year than in recent memory; a one goal win over a struggling team at the DECC isn't much of an indication of a solid performance. Dan Hoehne struggled a bit, and East is still having problems clearing the slot area. This is an area in which more work is needed.

Still, it's a win over a team that's a Section 7AA opponent, and helps to solidify East's eventual third or fourth seeding.

16:34EastMike Marshall (pp)Jon Hedberg, Ross Carlson1-0
112:19EastZach Burns (pp)Chad Roberg2-0
113:46G.R.Matt MiskovichJudd Welliver, Ryan Dekich2-1
25:43EastRoss Carlson (pp)Jon Hedberg, Nick Serre3-1
211:10EastNick Serre (pp) 4-1
39:40G.R.Judd Welliver (pp)Matt Miskovich, Mike Doyle4-2
313:15G.R.Seth NelsonSam Johnson4-3

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last updated january 31, 1999