N.D. BOY'S STATE HOCKEY QUARTERFINAL: Fugleberg leads Red River rout
Grand Forks Red River gave Jamestown a rude welcome back to the North Dakota state boys hockey tournament.
Casey Fugleberg registered a hat trick as Red River cruised to a 7-1 win over Jamestown -- making its first state tournament appearance since 1999 -- in the quarterfinals on Thursday at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
"Casey's a game-breaker," Red River coach Bill Chase said. "He's so fast. He's able to create chances out of nowhere."
Fugleberg, who now has five goals in his last two games, sent the Roughriders to tonight's semifinal, which begins 30 minutes after the 6:30 p.m. semifinal between Grand Forks Central and Grafton-Park River.
The decisive moments came late in the first period. The Blue Jays had cut Red River's lead to 2-1 with a power-play goal from Trevor Schmitt 14 minutes, 42 seconds into the first. The Blue Jays continued to apply pressure late in the frame.
But after Riders goalie Bryan Nies turned away some of the Blue Jays' best chances of the period, Fugleberg scored his second goal of the game to give the Riders a two-goal cushion and deflate any Jamestown momentum.
"That was a huge goal," Chase said. "Jamestown had come out like they had nothing to lose. If they were able to put in a goal in the first period here or there, it would have been a different game."
Instead, Fugleberg's back-breaking tally came with just nine seconds remaining in the first period.
"We started slow and we said on the bench that we were sluggish," said Fugleberg, who now has 23 goals this season. "But we picked it up, moved our feet, bodied them a little and started putting the puck in the net."
Just as important as Fugleberg's stellar plays late in the first was the goaltending of Nies, who finished with 17 saves.
"He was huge," Chase said. "He played really well. We got lackadaisical and put a few passes on their tape. We allowed a few breakaways that just weren't smart plays. We needed to be a little more consistent."
Fugleberg put the game out of reach with his third goal at 4:12 of the second period, pushing the Red River lead to 4-1 and trigging a few hats to litter the ice.
The Roughriders tacked on three goals in the third period to solidify the rout. Blake Holien, Jared Lothspeich and Josh Gilbertson each scored in the final frame, beating Jamestown goalie Tygh Yatskis, who ended with 31 stops.
Despite the convincing victory, Fugleberg said the Riders need a better effort in the semifinals.
"I definitely think we need to get back to Red River's style of play, like we were playing at EDC," Fugleberg said. "We need to be going hard and banging bodies. When we play good defense, our offense usually follows in its footsteps. We need to get back to that."