AREA NOTEBOOK: Three is the magic number for Grand Forks boys hockey
Three has been the magic number for the Grand Forks boys hockey teams.
Central and Red River resume their rivalry when they meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Purpur Arena. For both teams, three goals has been the difference between success and failure.
Red River, with wins in seven of its last nine games, is 10-6. The Roughriders are 10-1 when they’ve scored three or more goals in a game. Central, 10-7, is a perfect 9-0 when it has reached three goals in a game.
“It’s probably more of a coincidence than anything,” Central coach Grant Paranica said of the trend.
“We have been getting good goaltending from Taner Bender. And we’ve played relatively good defense. If you can keep teams down to a few goals, then it’s a matter of executing on your own end.”
The one win either team has when it scored less than three goals is the Knights’ 2-1 victory against Red River in the teams’ first meeting.
The Grand Forks teams are similar in that they rely on balanced scoring rather than a few individual offensive standouts. And both are strong in goal; Red River’s struggles early in the season (2-3 start) were when goalie Aaron Sauve was sidelined with an injury.
“It’s no coincidence that we started to get better when he came back,” Roughriders coach Bill Chase said. “He’s a real good goalie. I think the team’s confidence got a boost when he came back.”
Besides having its goalie back, Chase said Red River’s second-half surge has come from a work ethic. “It’s hard work,” Chase said. “The kids realized we can’t take a shift off; that they had to work hard all the time. We don’t have an explosive offense. It’s about going hard and working for rebounds.”
East Grand Forks Senior High and Thief River Falls could be playing for the No. 1 spot in the Minnesota Class A girls state hockey poll as well as the No. 1 seed in Section 8A next week.
Senior High hosts the Prowlers at 7 p.m. Friday. This week, the Prowlers were ranked first and the Green Wave second in the state Class A poll. Thief River Falls is 20-0 entering the weekend; Senior High is 20-1-1, its lone loss a 2-1 decision to TRF.
“We’d like to think that the No. 1 seed is up for grabs,” Senior High coach Jim Scanlan said. “If we beat them, we have almost identical records. Whether a win late in the season carries more weight than a win early in the season carries, we’ll see. And there will be other things we’ll look at (when coaches vote on seeding).
“But the first thing we have to do is beat them. The last few years, every time we’ve played it has been a good game.”
Thief River Falls has one of the state’s top goaltenders in Frances Marshall. Senior High has one of the state’s top lines in sisters Haley and Lexi Mack along with Riley Koberinski. But there is more to both teams than the headliners.
“They have some very talented forwards,” Scanlan said. “And our overall team defense probably gets overshadowed by our scoring ability.”
EGF teams to meet
Sacred Heart is off to a 9-0 start in girls basketball. All the wins have been against Minnesota Class A or North Dakota Class B opponents. The Eagles face their first Minnesota Class AA opponent when they play at East Grand Forks Senior High on Thursday night.
“I personally don’t feel like we’re a favorite in the game,” Sacred Heart coach Joann Remer said. “We’re still the small school. They have a lot more kids to pick from.”
Remer is in her seventh season as the Eagles’ coach. She’s still looking for her first win against the Green Wave. The teams have different looks.
Balance is the Eagles’ strength. Four players have double-figure scoring averages, Michele Remer (16.6 ppg), Stacy Remer (14.3 ppg), Jordyn Lloyd (12.9 ppg) and Anya Edwards (12.9 ppg).
Senior High, 7-8 after winning four of its last six games, relies on guard Kelsey Schlenk (17.5 ppg). The Wave’s next scorers are Alex Arroyo (10 ppg) and Karlee Westrem (8 ppg).
Davis provides spark
After opening its season with six straight losses, Grand Forks Central won back-to-back games. One of the sparkplugs has been reserve Samonica Davis.
The 6-foot sophomore played sparingly through the first six games, totaling 11 points. Her playing time increased after starting post player Jess Longtin suffered a season-ending injury. Davis had 14 points in a 56-50 win against Red River, then scored 13 in a 60-58 win against Fargo North.
“She’s come around and helped us quite a bit,” Knights coach D.J. Burris said. “We challenged our posts. They needed to contribute more, not just scoring but in rebounding. And Samonica has given us a boost. If she keeps playing like this, she could work her way into to the starting lineup.”