Hockey Day Minnesota offers the opportunity for a select few high school hockey teams to play outdoors at Bayfront Park in Duluth and be the center of the state’s attention.
In the first game of Saturday’s events between Eveleth-Gilbert and Duluth Denfeld, opportunity was also at the forefront, with the home team getting the majority and the visitors lacking in that department.
Duluth Denfeld outshot Eveleth-Gilbert by a 4-to-1 margin and used goals just seven seconds apart in winning 5-2.
The game was tight throughout until the Hunters broke it open on a pair of Dylan Skorich goals in the third period. Skorich’s first tally came with 5:19 to play, pushing Duluth Denfeld’s lead to 3-1, scoring on an odd-man advantage. Then, seconds later, Skorich’s one-timer from the slot also found the back of the net.
Nick Przybylski’s power-play goal with 3:25 left got the Golden Bears back within two goals, but an empty-net goal with under 30 seconds remaining clinched the victory for Duluth Denfeld.
Eveleth-Gilbert scored the game’s first goal — on its first shot — when with just 1:40 elapsed, Cody Hendrickson scored his 21st of the season by snapping a shot over the right shoulder of Hunters goalie River Alander.
Duluth Denfeld tied the game in similar fashion. With 2:12 gone in the second period, Hunters defenseman Jake Harold shot a puck through traffic and into the top-left corner of the net. Logan Parzych gave Duluth Denfeld the lead with 4:45 left in the second on a rebound, moving the puck from his left to right and sliding it past Golden Bears goalie Thomas Koskela.
The score could have been much worse, but Eveleth-Gilbert goalies Danny Niemi and Koskela, who entered midway through the second period, made a myriad of nice saves. Both stopped Duluth Denman’s Adam Reynolds on breakaway opportunities.
But the Hunters had many more opportunities and took advantage to raise its record to 11-11-1. Eveleth-Gilbert falls to 6-17-1.