BOYS HOCKEY: Spoilers pick up 3-2 overtime win over the Knights
Much like the weather of late, the atmosphere at Purpur Arena on Thursday night had some extra edge to it — coming in, just one game separated Grand Forks Central and Grafton-Park River in the North Dakota East Region boys hockey standings.
Things in the EDC are beginning to heat up as just six points separated fifth place Central and first place Fargo Davies prior to Thursday.
The Spoilers, who were second in the standings, were able to move into a tie for first place picking up two points in a 3-2 overtime win over the Knights.
The decider in overtime came from Spoiler senior forward Ben Thompson just three minutes in, his third goal on the year.
“The EDC is very tight up top,” said Spoiler coach Scott Peterson. “We came here for three points, so we’re actually disappointed in with what we did today…but every point in the EDC is going to be extremely important. We just have to continue to improve.”
Nearly 10 minutes into an evenly-matched first period, Central freshman Cam Olstad made a skillful play with his backhand to beat Spoiler goalie Zach Nelson top-shelf to give the Knights a 1-0 advantage.
Three and a half minutes later, the Spoilers answered with a Josh Burianek one-timer that was set up nicely by Jade Miller, Grafton-Park Rivers’ points leader.
The second period began with Central outshooting the Spoilers 5-0 in the first four minutes. The momentum led to a Tanner Corbett goal at 10:58 — a slap shot from near the blue line that Nelson was unable to track down, giving the Knights a 2-1 lead after two periods.
A costly penalty taken by Central at 7:13 of the third put the Spoilers on a power play with a chance to tie the game. Halfway through the power play, Grafton-Park River’s Marek Klement fired a shot from the left wing that caromed off the boards to the opposite side of the net. Miller read the bounce and was able to finish with a top-shelf shot over a diving Taner Bender.
That set up the game-winner by Thompson.
“Ben has been working really hard for us since the Warroad Tournament at Christmas time,” Peterson said. “He deserves it. He works hard and is improving every day.”
The Spoilers will take on Fargo South-Shanley on Saturday — a team that was just three points behind the Spoilers prior to Thursday.
“I think we blew our assignments on the faceoff,” said Central coach Grant Paranica. “I guess we just kind of had a mental lapse and forgot our assignments. They just kind of took the puck to the net and were able to push forward basically and get it into the net.
“I think we played well enough to win. It was a good game both ways, but we couldn’t stay out of the penalty box…and when you give guys like Miller and Levi Cudmore chances like that they’re going to score goals.”