Ricky Lyle (right) has used his size, speed and grittiness to earn a left wing spot on Duluth East’s top forward line. Next season, he is expected to play on an elite line centered by Mr. Hockey Award favorite and University of North Dakota commit Ryder Donovan, a 6-foot-5 points-producing machine, and a yet-to-be-determined right wing.
Lyle, a personable and well-spoken senior, had 20 goals and 35 points in 31 games for the Minnesota Class 2A state runners-up last season, including four goals in the post-season.
Below is a Q & A with Lyle, as the Greyhounds wrap up their 2018 summer training schedule at Essentia Duluth Heritage Center. Duluth East was 4-1 at the Summer Hockey Festival last weekend in Edina, losing only to Section 7AA favorite Andover 5-1 in the championship game.
Q. How did the ‘Hounds play in Edina, overall?
A. “We played with structure, speed and battled in our usual physical game. Our opponents didn’t like the physical part, but that’s what they get when they play the ‘Hounds. There were good parts about our play, along with some bad parts. We’ve got good depth, we’re skilled and our guys believe in our winning system. If we continue to believe, like we did last year, we can make a run at a state title. Our section will be tough again this year, and we’re a section final team. (East coach Mike) Randolph knows how to get us to the section finals, and he’s been doing it for years. This season should be no different. Randolph will have us ready for the high school season.”
Q. Your assessment of the five Class 2A opponents you faced last weekend?
A. Wayzata, Benilde-St. Margarets and Andover were tough. Lakeville South broke up into a split-squad, so it was hard to guage their overall strength. Blake had a good goalie. I was most impressed with Andover. They played without their starting goalie (Ben Fitzinger), and they shut us down all game. Andover is the top team in our section (7AA). They’re a solid team, with good depth, speed and the skill to dominate teams. Everyone is putting them above us.”
Q. Your personal goal for this season and moving forward?
A. “Losing the state final last year was heartbreaking. Getting back to the state championship game is obviously a team and personal goal, and taking that next step to winning a state title is our focus. I’d love to play D1 hockey, love to make it to the NHL. It will take pushing myself throughout. I need to work on consistency, and using my workhorse power style of play every game, every shift. Make the smart plays and not be fancy.”