Junior wing Ricky Lyle scored three goals to power third-ranked Duluth East to a 9-1, running-time victory over Duluth Marshall in a Class 2A, Section 7 semifinal Monday night at Amsoil Arena.
Senior center Garrett Worth added two goals, and sophomore forward Logan Anderson had a goal and three assists for the top-seeded Greyhounds, who led 4-0 after one period and 7-1 after two.
East (22-2-3) out-shot Duluth Marshall 36-14.
“We were on fire, and Marshall caught us on a night when we played our A-plus game,” Greyhounds coach Mike Randolph said afterwards. “We played solid defensively and kept it simple, and went to work. We just had a little more depth than they had.”
Duluth East will face second-seeded Andover, a 6-5 overtime winner against Elk River in the second semifinal Monday night, for the Section 7AA championship at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Amsoil.
More Randolph post-game quotes:
“I can’t remember a playoff game like this. Elk River beat Cloquet 9-0 here a few years back. I never expected this. Are you kidding me? I wasn’t comfortable until the clock was running, and I was going to do everything within my power to keep it running.”
“At the beginning of the year we relied on one line, and now our top line doesn’t have to do it all. Lyle’s (junior forward) had a great year, a great year. He’s tough to handle down low. He scored a beauty on the power-play, which was a big goal. What did he get, a hat trick today? Tonight we operated on all cylinders, and hopefully we can keep it going.”
“That’s a really good team down the hall, and they’ve had a heckuva year. That 7 (George Grannis) is a heckuva player, 21 (Levi Stauber), 20 (Willy Stauber), they’ve got some very high-end players. They just caught us on a night when we were really good. We just beat an excellent team.”
“There’s a lot of guys in our room who have been on the other end of this during their career. Two heart-wrenching defeats, and two of the toughest locker rooms I’ve ever had to go in. We lost section championship games with six seconds left and in double-overtime. That’s really, really tough on coaches, but even harder on players. There’s a lot of players in there who had to go through that. They’re excited to be back and have another kick at the can.”
Ricky Lyle post-game quotes:
“I popped a couple early. I had great feeds from Carson Cochran and Luke LaMaster on the first and third goals, and they were going in tonight. It was great tonight after coming in here as a sophomore and being jittery. It felt right, I felt confident coming in. I like being physical. I’ve had a couple other hat tricks this season, but none better than this one.”
Garrett Worth post-game quotes:
“Lyle’s work ethic is unbelievable, and it was nice to see him being rewarded tonight. When he was a pee wee I was scared that he wouldn’t even make it past bantams. He kept working, kept his confidence up and kept coming to work every single day.”