Boys hockey: Duluth East tops CEC in last minute of tie game
Logan Anderson took an ill-advised hooking penalty with less than a minute remaining in regulation of a tie game Thursday, Dec. 13, at Heritage Center, putting Cloquet-Esko-Carlton on the power play against Duluth East.
The Lumberjacks were unable to capitalize and, when Anderson skated from the box, he received a beautifully alert pass from Frederick Paine. All alone, he streaked in on Lumberjacks goalie Owen Carlson, bluffing to his backhand before finishing with his forehand and sealing a 2-1 Greyhounds victory.
Anderson celebrated with an uppercut before skating in a circle, his teammates in rapt pursuit, ultimately ending up in front of East's student section. When Paine put the puck on his stick, Anderson tried not to overthink the situation. The backhand-forehand combo seemed like the surest bet.
"That's kind of my main move," he said.
While a breakaway at that point in the game might sound ideal, there are a lot of nerves involved. Plus, Carlson had played brilliantly all night, so it was hardly a gimme.
"It is incredible pressure — overtime and the game's on your stick," teammate Ricky Lyle said.
It was Anderson and Lyle hooking up 12:08 into the third period to make OT possible. Trailing most of the night, the fourth-ranked Greyhounds (4-1) had a man-advantage when Anderson slid a centering pass out front. All Lyle had to do was punch it in.
Jon Baker had staked CEC (1-6) to a 1-0 lead midway through the first by corralling a loose puck and, from the right faceoff circle, whirling and ripping the game's first goal past East netminder Brody Rabold. It was a blue-collar tally for the Lumberjacks, who were coming off their first victory of the season at Eagan.
Despite the fact that the Greyhounds finished with a 29-13 advantage in shots on goal, gritty CEC often had the better scoring opportunities. The Lumberjacks, who were without standout sophomore defenseman Mason Langenbrunner, have struggled to put a complete game together. They were ranked 10th before opening the season on a five-game skid.
"You have to capitalize on the power play. You have to score," first-year CEC coach Shea Walters said. "We were 0-for-5 again tonight. We need to put the nail in the coffin and bury them on the power play. If you don't, that momentum sometimes swings the other way. That's what happened tonight."
Walters can't fault his club's effort.
"It's just the things that make a difference between 6-1 and 1-6 are so small," he said. "And once we buy into doing all those small things 100 percent of the game, I think our record's really gonna turn around."
East was coming off its first loss of the year, 2-1 in overtime against Andover on Saturday in a clash between the section's frontrunners. Randolph wasn't thrilled with the Greyhounds' response, but as the night progressed, they matched the Lumberjacks' intensity.
Randolph didn't speak to his team during the second intermission, according to Lyle. Instead, the coach let his veterans drive home the point that East needed a win against one of its chief rivals after going 0-1-1 against CEC in 2017-18.
"We hate them and they hate us," Anderson said. "They treat this game like their Stanley Cup. It's always a big one with them and us."
Duluth East 0-0-1-1—2
First period — 1. CEC, Jon Baker (Aaron Moore, Landon Langenbrunner), 8:03.
Second period — No scoring.
Third period — 1. DE, Ricky Lyle (Logan Anderson, Ryder Donovan), 12:08 (pp).
Overtime — 3. DE, Anderson (Frederick Paine), 1:15.
Saves — Owen Carlson, CEC, 27; Brody Rabold, DE, 12.