UMD hockey teams host big rivalry foes

John Gilbert

UMD recruit Jayson Shaugabay (17) lured the Denfeld defense before feeding Warroad linemate Carson Pilgrim for a tap-in – one of four goals Pilgrim scored as Shaugabay had a goal and five assists in Saturday’s 8-1 Warriors' win. Photo by John Gilbert.

Rivalries. The word is recklessly overused whenever anyone wants to add some hype to an upcoming sports event.
Of course, the NFL playoffs have one more weekend of action to determine the two Super Bowl rivals, after last weekend, when the Cincinnati Bengals stifled Buffalo’s heavily-favored Bills in the snow in Buffalo, while Kansas City took care of upstart Jacksonville in a closer game than most expected.

The NFC side showed Philadelphia crushing the New York Giants, who were only a shadow of the team that whipped the Vikings, and the Dallas Cowboys wound up a touchdown short of the San Francisco 49ers in the other semifinal.
My pick was Dallas against the Bengals in the Super Bowl, and I now think the Bengals can win in Kansas City, and the 49ers might well oust Philadelphia.
But both last week and this week qualify as rivalry weeks in Duluth. Prime examples include last weekend’s UMD hockey series at North Dakota, which wound up in a split of close battles between the Bulldogs and Fighting Hawks, indicating neither one is going to give up its hopes of NCHC contending without a struggle.

But this weekend is perhaps the biggest doubleheader weekend of the entire hockey season for both UMD men’s and women’s teams: The women will take on highly ranked Minnesota at 3 pm both Friday and Saturday at AMSOIL Arena, followed directly by 7 pm battles between UMD and high-flying St. Cloud State.

The Huskies last weekend stunned first-place Denver 7-3 Friday and followed it up with an equally stun-ning 2-0 victory Saturday – a sweep that lifts the Huskies into a tie with the Pioneers for first place, both at 10-4 in NCHC play.
Those rivalries stand out on the college front, while in high school, the biggest rivalry in Duluth played out between East and Denfeld on three fronts last week, with East holding dominant edges in all three matches in both hockey and basketball.
In hockey, East contin-ued its upsurgence by whipping Denfeld 4-0, with Hunters' junior goaltender Connor Doyle  stopping 39 East shots, yielding only goals by Cole Christian, Caden Cole, Wyatt Peterson in the second period and Ian Christian in the third.
Kobe Kronstedt needed only 10 saves to record the shutout for the Greyhounds, who swarmed to his aid during a two-man penalty kill early in the second period.
For good measure, East had a follow-up rivalry hockey game later last week, snuffing the hopeful upset by Cloquet-Esko-Carlton by issuing an 8-1 drubbing to the Lumberjacks in Cloquet.
And on Saturday, Denfeld concluded a tough week when top-ranked Class A power Warroad brought its undefeated squad to Heritage Center and blitzed the Hunters 8-1 behind a goal and five assists by UMD prospect Jayson Shaugabay, and four goals two assists from Carson Pilgrim, his junior lineman.
Warroad, which thumped Hermantown 3-0 in a battle of unbeaten Nos. 1-2 Class A powers at Warroad a week ago, and earlier inflicted a 7-4 loss on neighborhood Class AA rival Roseau, beat powerful Wayzata 3-0 on its way to Duluth.
Warroad coach Jon Ammerman acknowledged that Shaugabay is truly an elite talent and should fit into UMD’s lineup very well, joked that after two periods of the Denfeld game, the Warriors led 5-0 and Shaugabay had assisted on all five goals.
“I was giving him grief after the second period that he has to shoot more, because his next goal would be his 100th at Warroad.”
An extremely deceptive passer who anticipates amazingly well, Shaugabay went out on penalty-kill duty at 10:44 of the third period, zoomed in from the right, then made a deft move and circled behind the net to score on a wraparound – similar to the goal Pilgrim had scored a few minutes earlier.
Hermantown bounced back from its loss at Warroad to win a 3-2 thriller against 8AA power Moorhead Friday night. The Spuds, battling through a rugged schedule, have both a familiar look and a familiar sound on the public address system, with several sons of former Moorhead standouts – sophomore Mason Kraft, son of Ryan Kraft; sophomore Brooks Cullen, son of Matt Cullen; and senior defenseman Jack Arnold, son of Josh Arnold; with those dads all members of the Moorhead team that lost to Dave Spehar’s hat trick frenzy in the state championship game a few decades ago.

Other familiar names include Carver Hasbargen, Colin Baumgartner and Aaron Reierson, and the lines of heredity mean the Spuds can fly.
They also jumped into a 1-0 lead on Joe Kortan’s goal in the second period, before Dallas Vieau tied it for the Hawks on a rebound, and Reierson regained the lead at 2-1 with a shot from the right point.
In the third period, the Hawks battled for the equalizer on Mason Sundbom’s goal at the crease with seven minutes left in the third.
The fast-paced action seemed destined for overtime with a minute to go, when Vieau rushed hard up the right side and left a slick drop pass for junior Will Estebrooks, who moved up to the top of the right circle and sent a sizzling snapshot into the upper short-side corner.
The goal, his third of the season came with 10.3 seconds remaining and gave the Hawks a 3-2 triumph.
Kade Kohanski played a solid game for the Hawks after returning from a broken wrist he suffered in the second game of the season, a 3-1 victory at Hill-Murray. He made his return by scoring the first goal earlier last week when Hermantown beat Hibbing-Chisholm.
Saturday morning, Hermantown coach Pat Andrews loaded his Hawks onto the bus for a ride to Mendota Heights, where they was stopped short, 3-0, by St. Thomas Academy, under coach Mike Randolph.  – speaking of rivalries.
This Saturday is Hockey Day Minnesota, with White Bear Lake as the host site for a dayful of games outdoors, and one of the highlights will be a game between Hermantown and Mahtomedi, which befits the definition of a long-distance rivalry.
It was Mahtomedi who reached the Class A championship game and, while heavily outshot, scored in overtime to upset one of the best Hermantown teams ever.
That’s the Hermantown team that is one of the two featured attractions in the movie Hockeyland, just released last year.
Meanwhie, back at the Duluth East gym, Denfeld’s Selah Reinertsen grabbed the opening tip, dribbled up the court, and promptly scored with a long three-point shot for a 3-0 lead.
But the Greyhounds girls basketball team responded by scoring the next 27 points!
It was 47-8 at halftime, with a dev-astating fast break led by Ashlynne Guenther with 13 and eighth-grader Lilly Ruettel matching Sydney Zwak with 10 apiece, and the Greyhounds. The Hunters found their poise to make a few buckets in the second half, but fell 61-19.
The boys took the court next and had more of a battle, but 6-foot-8 Patrick Smith scored 21 and got solid support from Michael Kastelic and Jobe Juenneman, who both scored 15.
East cruised to a 27-16 lead and expanded it to 39-30 by halftime. Kastelic got all 15 of his points by making five 3-point shots, including several that held the Hunters at bay late in the first half.
Denfeld’s hopes rode on sophomore MarNaries Ferguson, who has the remarkable ability to hang in the air when he goes up for a midrange jump shot. He free-lanced to get open and score 23 points to lead all scorers, which helped the Hunters close the gap to 39-34 and 48-38 before the Greyhounds depth allowed them to pull away in the last three minutes.

“He’s really a talent,” said Kastelic, praising Ferguson. “And he’s only a sophomore, so they’re going to be tough for the next couple of years, too.”
That’s the way it should be, to rekindle a priceless rivalry.