East Grand Forks senior Landon Parker's decision to stay in high school pays off with trip to state

Senior forward leads Green Wave in goals and points as they head to the Xcel Energy Center.

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East Grand Forks Senior High forward Landon Parker (9) celebrates his first period goal during Monday's home hockey game against the Thief River Falls Prowlers. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Landon Parker signed a tender with the North American Hockey League's Minnesota Wilderness this winter.

It wasn't that the East Grand Forks Senior High forward was looking to move on and skip his senior year of high school hockey. He just wasn't sure there would be a high school season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I didn't really want to think about it," Parker said. "But I knew I needed a backup plan. At the time, it was a big possibility. But I had a really bitter taste from last year and I couldn't give it up.

Parker had many conversations with Senior High coach Tyler Palmiscno.

"At one point, I told him if he wants to go, I 100 percent understand it and support him," Palmiscno said. "But at no point in time did he waver. If there was a season -- whether it was three games or 20 games -- he was going to play for the Green Wave."


The season happened.

Parker stayed with Senior High.

And a year that was once in jeopardy -- and slightly delayed -- will end with Parker and the Green Wave playing in the Minnesota Class A boys state high school hockey tournament.

Senior High will take on Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Tuesday in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center. The winner will play Gentry Academy or Northern Lakes in the semifinals at 11 a.m. Friday.

Parker, a senior center, has led the way. He has a team-high 21 goals and 42 points in 20 games.

He was at his best in the Section 8A championship game at Warroad. Parker scored one goal and tallied five points in a 5-4 overtime win. That avenged a loss to Warroad in the section title game a year earlier.


"We felt we had the team to go to the X and do something big last year," Parker said. "It was not our best showing at all (in the section final), and it was pretty disappointing for myself. Growing up in East Side, the expectation is to go to the Xcel. It doesn't matter how your season goes, it's pretty much a disappointment if you don't go. We all felt that training all summer, skating all summer. Our main goal was getting back to the X and doing what we know we can do there."

Parker centers the top line with Brody Schultz (eight goals, 23 points) and Tanner Lubinski (10 goals, 23 points).

"He's a goal-scorer," Palmiscno said. "He's always been a goal-scorer. In the last couple weeks here, he's started using his linemates and teammates better, and that's made him even more dangerous."

Senior High has other scoring threats, too.

Its second-leading scorer is junior defenseman Trey Ausmus (nine goals, 33 points), who is committed to UND. Its third-leading scorer is sophomore forward Jaksen Panzer (10 goals, 31 points), who also is a UND commit. Sophomore Caleb Schmiedeberg is a double-digit goal-scorer with 11, while senior defenseman Logan Spencer (19 points, 21 games) is averaging nearly a point per game.

The Green Wave, who enter the state tournament with the No. 3 seed, are looking for their first state championship since winning back-to-back in 2014 and 2015.

Parker said he's glad he opted to return to prep hockey for his senior year and pursue those goals with his classmates.

"It's been a dream ever since I was a kid to throw on that EGF sweater," Parker said. "I wasn't going to take any game for granted, especially with the year it has been. Every game we get to play, it's a game I get to play with my best friends, in front of my family, in a great town. I'm so thankful I came back."


East Grand Forks Senior High at-a-glance

Coach: Tyler Palmiscno.

Record: 13-8.

State quarterfinal: 1 p.m. Tuesday vs. Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato.

Top scorers: Sr. F Landon Parker 21-21--42; jr. D Trey Ausmus 9-24--33; soph. F Jaksen Panzer 10-21--31; sr. F Tanner Lubinski 10-13--23; sr. F. Brody Schultz 8-15--23; sr. D Logan Spencer 1-18--19; soph. F Caleb Schmiedeberg 11-5--16; fr. F Grady Magner 8-5--13; sr. D Brandon Anderson 3-8--11; sr. D Garrett Beauchamp 0-8--8; jr. F Zach Stocker 5-3--8; jr. D Justin Overgaard 1-5--6.

Top goalie: Sr. Cole Quirk 9-7, 2.56 goals-against average, .858 save percentage.

Coach Palmiscno on reaching state: "It's obviously excitement, joy and a little bit of relief. When you set that goal so far in advance, it weighs on you a bit. It's been a tough season, just from the COVID standpoint. Like everyone else in Minnesota, we started eight or nine weeks late. The first six games really weren't the same. Combine that with playing quality teams like Central and Red River and it was really tough to get a good gauge. But I don't think our guys ever wavered. They put their nose down and kept going to work. I'm really excited for them. Their reward is winning another championship and continuing to move this program further along."

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East Grand Forks Senior High's Landon Parker (9) fires the puck past the Moorhead Spuds defense Thursday night at the East Grand Forks Civic Center. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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