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Tom Miller / Forum News Service, Published March 07 2013

PHOTOS: One goal enough to end Moorhead's hopes at state tourney

ST. PAUL – During the final scramble, Moorhead junior forward Aaron Herdt took a pass from teammate Thomas Carey in the right circle with Duluth East goalie Dylan Parker out of position.

Herdt coiled up for the shot, but the final horn sounded and he never got to swing.

It was that close for the underdog Spuds.

Duluth East’s Jack Kolar scored early in the second period and Parker turned aside a handful of late attempts as the Greyhounds beat Moorhead 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the Minnesota Class 2A state boys hockey tournament at the Xcel Energy Center.

“If there was one more second on the clock, we might still be playing right now,” said Herdt, who registered half of his team’s shots on goal (six of 12).

Duluth East, which was ranked No. 3 in the latest poll, improved to 25-4 and won its 17th straight game. The Greyhounds advance to the semifinals against Edina at 6 tonight.

The Spuds started slow, getting outshot 10-1 in the first period. Moorhead, which dropped to 14-12-2, didn’t put its first shot on goal until there were 49 seconds left in the first period.

“We didn’t have the jump we normally have in the playoffs,” Moorhead coach Peter Cullen said. “We didn’t have that fast start. It was a morning game, so maybe we didn’t wake up.”

Moorhead goalie Jacob Dittmer, however, did his part. The sophomore, who was asked to replace former standout Michael Bitzer this season, stopped 29 shots.

He made an incredible save on Duluth East’s Tyler Sorsky, who was making a rebound attempt with 5:19 to play in the third period.

“That’s probably his best save all year,” Cullen said. “That really kept us in it.”

But Moorhead couldn’t even the score. And it didn’t help the Spuds were trying to generate offense without the services of senior captain Nick Uglem. Moorhead’s fourth-leading scorer took a slap shot to the knee with 6:05 to play in the first period. He was helped off the ice.

Uglem would return in the second period. But midway through the frame, he appeared to re-injure his leg as he tried to split two defenders while entering the zone.

“Anytime one of your dynamic players and senior captain and heart of our team goes down, it hurts,” Cullen said. “We tried to scramble to get some magic together. And I thought it worked a little bit, but those guys were out there a long time.”

Herdt and Tony Uglem (three shots) accounted for all but three of Moorhead’s shots on goal.

“Their defense was tight and holding the blue line and red line,” Herdt said. “When we started to move our feet and hit guys, we got more time and space and got more shots. But they were frustrating the way they play defense.”

Moorhead, which lost 5-1 to Duluth East during the regular season, will play in a consolation semifinal at 10 a.m. today at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis.

First period – No scoring.

Second period – 1. DE, Jack Kolar (Alex Toscano, Phil Beaulieu) 1:13

Goalie saves – DE: Dylan Packer 1-4-7 – 12; M: Jacob Dittmer 10-8-11 – 29