A three-game sweep left Team North as the only unbeaten squad and alone in first place after the first weekend of play in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League.
North, coached by former Greenway and UMD star Pat Guyer, opened its weekend with a 4-1 win over Wisconsin. Duluth Marshall’s Jacob Bushey scored a second-period power play goal to break a 1-1 tie, then assisted on Dom Tonianto’s goal in the third period. Adam Barlow and Zach Schendel also scored for North.
In the Saturday evening game, North rallied with a pair of third-period goals to defeat Team Northwest 6-5. Nick DeCenzo of Hibbing netted the game-winner with just 1:40 remaining, after Hermantown’s Garrett Skrbich had tied the game at 7:40. North then completed the weekend sweep on Sunday with a 4-2 win over Northeast in which goalie Dom DeGuiseppi of Grand Rapids stopped 40 of 42 shots.
For Team Northwest, it was the only loss in a 2-1 week. Northwest kicked off the 2010 Elite League season with a 4-2 win over Northeast in the debut game on Tuesday. Jonny Brodzinski of Blaine scored two goals to lead a 60-shot attack. After the loss to North, Northwest rallied on Sunday with a 6-3 win over Great Plains as Christian Horn scored two goals, while Drew Brevig, Eli May and Tony Cameranesi each chipped in a pair of assists.
Team Wisconsin also enjoyed a 2-1 weekend. After the loss to North, Wisconsin downed Great Plains 5-2 behind two goals from Brad Navin of Waupaca and 39 saves by goalie Eric Smith of Middleton. On Sunday, Wisconsin won the wildest game of the weekend, building a 4-0 lead over Team Southeast, then holding on for a 7-5 win despite being outshot 52-26. Smith and Navin again led Wisconsin, with Smith making 47 saves and Navin recording a hat trick. Simon Leahy added a pair of goals and Cliff Watson had three assists.
Teams Southwest and Southeast skated to a 3-3 tie on the league’s opening night, and ended the week tied for fourth place with identical 1-1-1 records. The 3-3 tie was the second game of Tuesday’s opening doubleheader, and Southwest’s Ryan Bullock scored early in the third period to tie the game. Southeast built and early 2-0 lead on goals by Michael Dockry and Bob Kinne, then went ahead 3-2 on A.J. Ried’s second-period goal.
Southwest then suffered a 5-3 loss to Northeast before beating Norway 18-2 behind Kyle Rau’s four goals. Steven Fogarty also had three goals in the game as Southwest outshot Norway 66-11.
Southeast’s only win also came against Norway in a 12-3 romp that saw the Norwegian goaltenders face 71 shots. A.J. Michaelson of Apple Valley notched three goals while Justin Kloos of Lakeville South had a pair of goals and three assists for a five-point game.
Team Great Plains also earned a victory against Norway with a 9-1 win on Saturday. Eric Brenk of Moorhead was one of nine Great Plains skaters to score and added a pair of assists. Chris Forney had two assists in the 6-3 loss to Northwest.
Team Northeast had a 1-2 mark, posting a 5-3 win over Team Southwest behind Jake Sampson’s hat trick. The Edina senior added an assist for a four-point game, and goalie Blake Cates of Stillwater stopped 59 of 62 shots to earn the victory.
NOTES: Kyle Rau of Eden Prairie leads the Elite League in scoring after the first week with five goals and three assists for eight points. Wisconsin’s Brad Navin also has five goals to tie Rau for the league lead. Zach Schroeder of St. Thomas Academy is the assist leader with six, and is second in points with seven. Team North’s Dom DeGuiseppi leads the goalies with a 1.33 goals-against average and a .962 save percentage. Team North’s power play was certainly ready for the season, scoring on seven of 16 opportunities for a league-high 43.75% success rate. They also killed off 16 of 18 opposing power plays for an 87.5% kill rate. Team Norway’s goalies faced 181 shots in just three games, allowing 31 goals.
The Elite League goes on the road this weekend, with half the teams playing at Duluth MARS arena in Duluth, Minnesota, and half traveling to Wausau, Wisconsin for games at Greenheck Arena. The Elite League will host Tuesday night games every week at New Hope Arena, with any middle school or high school students admitted free with a valid school ID.