It might be equivalent to Cretin-Derham Hall traveling to Brainerd to play football or baseball.
When the Duluth East Greyhounds play the Brainerd Warriors boys' hockey team at 7:30 p.m. Saturday they will showcase one of the state's most powerful programs at the Brainerd Area Civic Center.
The Greyhounds, ranked fourth in Class 2A, have made 12 state tournament trips. In the 1990s, they won the championship twice, were second three times and third once.
East is 8-4-3 before playing Roseau tonight. In the last two weeks, the Greyhounds tied second-ranked Roseville 2-2, lost to top-ranked Apple Valley 3-2 in overtime and beat No. 3 Greenway 5-2.
"They play one of the toughest schedules in the state," Warriors coach Ty Eigner said. "They left their conference. They basically play as an independent. They play all over against anyone. Their kids are in real good hockey games on a regular basis. They play tough opponents. They're in the fire a lot."
Brainerd and East, both of whom are in Section 7, Class 2A, have played only once. In the section semifinals Feb. 25, 1995, East triumphed 7-1.
"I'm excited about it," Eigner said of the game, "and I hope our kids are. We had a good crowd (Tuesday) (against Grand Rapids) and we have a Pee Wee A tournament this weekend. We hope some of those people stick around and watch."
Senior wing Nick Licari, who has signed with the University of Wisconsin, leads the Greyhounds with 15 goals and 31 points. Nick Nelson has 12 goals and 28 points and Tommy Kolar 9 and 24. Goaltender Dustin Aro has an .874 save percentage and 2.58 goals-against average.
J.P. Platisha leads Brainerd with 14 goals and 25 points, Matt Burris has 9 and 14 and Chris Mattson 7 and 12. Goalie Jon Weston has a 2.15 GAA and .924 save percentage.
Brainerd is playing some of its best hockey of the season, going 3-0-1 in its last four games.
"We haven't juggled our lines or done anything drastic," Eigner said. "We haven't taken any players from the junior varsity, we haven't changed our style, we're just playing better. That's the reward they get, their reward for working hard."
Raiders host Vermilion
Men's basketball -- The Vermilion Ironmen, one of Central Lakes College's biggest rivals, travel to Brainerd to play the Raiders 3 p.m. Saturday in a key North Division clash.
Entering Wednesday's game against Itasca, the Ironmen were 2-0 in the division, 11-1 overall.
They are led by Edward Smith and Ken Hathorne. Smith leads the division in scoring (24.8) and rebounding (13.2) and is shooting 65 percent from the field.
CLC, 3-0 and 11-2, has won seven straight.
Women's basketball -- Two teams striving for respectability clash at 1 p.m. Saturday at CLC.
Vermilion is 1-1 in the division, 5-5 overall, but boasts the leading scorer in the division, Tiffany Hunter (20.0 points). The Raiders, 1-2 and 2-8, are led by Val Diedrich, averaging 16.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals. Molly RoggenKamp is averaging 8.1 rebounds.
Swimming and diving
The Warriors compete in the maroon division at the University of Minnesota Invitational 3 p.m. Saturday.
Brainerd competes against Alexandria, Chaska, Hibbing, Mounds View, Red Wing, Sauk Rapids and Woodbury.
Brainerd diver Shaun Kennedy has the fourth-best performance in the state for six dives (257.45 points) and is third-best for 11 dives (410.40). Ty Goeman has the eighth-fastest time in the 50-yard freestyle (22.48) and Peter Goeman is 10th in the breaststroke (1:03.04).
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