In the second of the two Hockey Day Minnesota 2016 high school games, Duluth East had hoped to avenge a championship loss 11 months ago to Lakeville North.
Close but no cigar.
Ryan Poehling had a key goal and assisted on two others as Lakeville North (16-5-1), ranked No. 8 in the state poll, edged Duluth East (14-8), ranked 14th, 3-2, in an outdoor contest at Bayfront Park in Duluth.
The Panthers broke a 1-all tie in the second period on goals by Max Johnson and Henry Enebak — passes by Poehling leading to both scores. But it was Poehling’s goal near the end of the first period which turned things around for Lakeville North.
With Duluth East on the power play and in its own zone, Poehling snuck up from behind and stole the puck behind the net and swept it in before Greyhounds goalie Kirk Meierhoff could get in position. It was Poehling’s 17th goal of the season and fifth short-handed.
The goal tied the game and got Lakeville North in the game it never really had been in to that point — the Panthers had no shots on goal until over 10 1/2 minutes had elapsed.
Poehling’s short-handed tally "was a big momentum changer," said Duluth East coach Mike Randolph before the start of the third period.
But Duluth East didn’t fold and tried to take back the momentum. The Greyhounds came out strong to start the third period and after a turnover, Ryan Peterson scored his second goal of the game with 12:10 remaining by one-timing a cross pass.
The Greyhounds didn’t get too many scoring opportunities after that — having to kill off a penalty with 5:18 left didn’t help — until they pulled the goalie late in the game. With time running out, Duluth East won a faceoff and got a pass near the crease but just out of the reach of Peterson.