Lakeville South Upsets No. 1 Duluth East

ST. PAUL – With two unseeded teams winning earlier in the AA bracket, Lakeville South was looking to do the unthinkable, knock off the top team in state, Duluth East. Despite an early goal from the Greyhounds, Lakeville South battled back to pull the upset, winning 3-2.

It didn't take long for the top seed, Duluth East, to get on the board, scoring just 3:37 into the first. The Greyhounds' top line accounted for the goal with Trevor Olson getting the tally and assists going to Nebraska-Omaha commit Jake Randolph and Minnesota-Duluth commit Dom Toninato.

Despite the quick goal, Greyhound coach Mike Randolph was looking for more energy to begin the game.

"We got a good start, not a great start though," he said. "They seemed to have the puck more than us. They flew out of their end."

Lakeville South headed to the locker room down 1-0 but came out in the second with a jump in their step. The energy paid off with a pretty goal by Patrick Lauderdale who was fed by Alex Harvey and future Gopher Justin Kloos.

Tied 1-1, the Cougars knew that the momentum was in their favor.

"We felt as soon as we got it tied it up that we were on our way [to winning]," said Kloos after the game.

Duluth East had a number of chances, but the Lakeville South stayed calm and continued to work, earning the go-ahead goal in the third period. John Wiitala netted a breakaway goal at 4:14 of the final frame on a beautiful outlet pass by Justin Doeden.

With the lead, Lakeville South didn't hang back, instead they applied pressure to keep earning scoring opportunities throughout the third, not allowing the Greyhounds to get into their usual rhythm.

"I don't think we ever really got our game the whole night," said Mike Randolph.

With time running down, Duluth East was forced to pull their goalie with less than two minutes remaining. Lakeville South kept the puck out of their zone, eventually making their way into the Greyhounds' end where Kloos flung a puck at the open net that tipped off a stick and into the goal, giving the Cougars a 3-1 lead with 40 seconds remaining.

The Greyhounds would add a goal with nine seconds left but it was too late to complete the comeback. In a day filled with upsets, Lakeville South's 3-2 victory over Duluth East was the most surprising to fans as well as players.

One of the keys to the game for the Cougars was the defensive play in the neutral zone.

"The thing we know about them is that they go east and west and move the puck across the ice and they like to go back door so we just cut the middle off," said Lakeville South coach Kurt Weber.

Defensively, Lakeville South also relied on the play of goalie Tyler Schumacher who played a lights-out game in net, stopping 28 of Duluth East's 30 shots.

"Tonight I felt like the puck was a beach ball, I felt so good," said Schumacher. "I've never cried of happiness before and this is one of the greatest moments of my life."

Following the victory, Kloos was also in disbelief that his team had just beaten the top seed in the Tourney.

"It's better than I could have imagined," he said. "This is what you dream about when you play on the pond when you're younger…This is the main reason I chose to play high school hockey again."

Gopher Illustrated Top Stories