Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- The dream of a state championship was one goal away last season for the Duluth East Greyhounds. This year, that experience has helped the 'Hounds to the #1 ranking in Minnesota's Class AA.
"The returners, you can tell, have been in big games, played in big buildings, and against good competition," Greyhounds head coach Mike Randolph said. "Their game has elevated to another level."
The level they're striving for, Northland hockey fans might remember, that being the mid-1990s when Dave Spehar and Chris Locker were becoming household names.
"The 90s, they were unreal," Duluth East senior forward Jake Randolph said. "I watch all those highlight tapes that my dad has of those old seasons when they went to the state championship and all that stuff. Spehar, Locker, those days were unbelievable."
"We knew the Spehars, the Lockers, all those guys growing up," Greyhounds senior defenseman Nate Repensky said. "We watched them, we heard about them, but we kind of want to make our own legacy as a team."
That legacy will be in large part guided by Duluth East's top forward line - Jake Randolph, Trevor Olson, and Dom Toninato.
"Trevor and Jake are great players," Toninato said. "It's fun playing with them. We feed off each other, and we like to talk a lot. That definitely helps each other out."
"The most important thing is they have great chemistry," the elder Randolph said. "They're great friends, and they play for each other."
As do the rest of the Greyhounds, as they try to get back to that state championship.
"I think we just have to come play every game," Repensky said. "That's kind of the philosophy Coach preaches. We just try to be mentally prepared and give our best effort every time."
Duluth East will be part of Hockey Day Minnesota this season on Saturday, January 21. They will take on the host school, Minnetonka, in the annual event that features outdoor high school hockey games.
Tickets for the sixth annual Hockey Day Minnesota can be purchased at the Hockey Blast web site.
Posted by Zach Schneider