The truth be told, Duluth East, Minnesota’s third-ranked large school powerhouse, has a free ticket to the Section 7AA high school boy’s hockey final this season.
The defending four-time section champion Greyhounds (21-4) should easily dispatch of St. Michael-Albertville (9-15-2) in today’s quarterfinal opener at Duluth Heritage Sports Center, and also figure to have an easy game against either Forest Lake (15-10) or Cloquet (15-8-2) in Saturday’s noon semifinal at Amsoil Arena.Look for section top-seed Duluth East to pound St. Michael-Albertville 5-0 and humble Cloquet 5-1 to advance to meet second-seeded Grand Rapids in the final.
Neither St. Michael-Albertville nor Cloquet will be unable to penetrate the Greyhounds’ well-oiled defense led by senior goaltender Dylan Parker (1.74 goals-against average and .913 saves percentage), senior defenseman Meirs Moore and a rugged corp of forwards who are ridiculously strong on the puck and compete like maniacs in small spaces in the defensive end.
Meanwhile, senior forward Jack Forbort (19 goals, 52 points) has emerged as one of the state’s most prolific scorers.
Duluth East is especially dangerous on the power-play, where Moore and junior defenseman Phil Beaulieu often make penalty killers appear silly. The Greyhounds’ power play starts at the top, which opponents know all too well, but a defensive scheme that extends the box out to deny Moore and Beaulieu the puck leaves Forbort and East snipers to work 2-on-1′s down low.
Moore had five assists in East’s 6-1 recent victory over St. Michael-Albertville.
This could be one of Duluth East’s best-ever teams. Greyhounds Nation parents and
Section 7AA Playoffs
St. Michael-Albertville at No. 1 Duluth East, 7 p.m. Heritage Center
No. 5 Forest Lake at No. 4 Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, 7 p.m.
No. 7 St. Francis at No. 2 Grand Rapids, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Andover at No. 3 Elk River, 7 p.m.
Noon and 2 p.m., Amsoil Arena
Thursday, Feb. 28 Championship
7:30 p.m., Amsoil Arena
Good Read: Our picks for the 7AA and 7A tourneys