Area prep notebook: Thief River Falls, Warroad play again for 8A titleTim Bergland summed it up best: “Here we go again.” For the third straight year, and the seventh time in the last nine seasons, Bergland’s Thief River Falls boys hockey team plays Warroad in the Section 8A championship. The teams meet at 7 tonight in Thief River Falls, with the winner advancing to the Minnesota state tournament.
By: Greg DeVillers, Grand Forks Herald
Tim Bergland summed it up best: “Here we go again.”
For the third straight year, and the seventh time in the last nine seasons, Bergland’s Thief River Falls boys hockey team plays Warroad in the Section 8A championship. The teams meet at 7 tonight in Thief River Falls, with the winner advancing to the Minnesota state tournament.
Warroad has beaten the Prowlers in four of the last six section finals. Routinely, the games are close — Warroad’s 4-1 win in the 2005 final was the biggest margin of victory. Last season, Warroad won 2-0; the season before, it was 3-2. The Prowlers beat Warroad 3-2 in four overtimes in 2006, with Warroad winning 2-1 the next season.
“I don’t expect a shootout this time, either,” Warroad coach Albert Hasbargen said. “Both teams are well-coached. The priority in both programs has always been defense first. We’ve both had powerful offenses, but it’s been low-scoring affairs when we meet in the playoffs.”
The teams have a different look from a year ago.
Hasbargen said 75 percent of last season’s offense graduated last spring. Nick Stoskopf (18 goals, 19 assists), David Nelson (19-17) and Carson Gray (7-27) pace the four-time defending section champion Warriors. “We’re not as dominant on offense as we’ve been,” Hasbargen said.
Thief River Falls is led by Micah Ranum (20-21) and Ryan Crosson (9-26). Depth is a strength — in a first-round win against Park Rapids, third-liner Brendan Skime had five goals and two assists.
The big difference for the Prowlers is in the nets. After standout three-year starter Zane Gothberg graduated last spring, the goaltending duties are shared by Jon Narverud and Josh Koop. “They’ve been fighting for playing time,” Bergland said. “It’s a tough decision. They’re both good goalies. And it’s not just about them — we play team defense, not relying on the goalies.”
Regardless of who is on the ice, neither coach anticipates a high-scoring game. “It’s playoff hockey,” Bergland said. “You expect low-scoring games. Warroad is strong on defense; we try to be the same.”
Warroad dominates all-state team
Warroad won its second straight Minnesota Class A girls hockey championship this winter, going undefeated against Class A opponents. That domination is reflected in the Minnesota Girls Hockey Coaches Association’s all-state team.
Nine of the 17 all-state picks are from Section 8A, including seven Warroad players. Here are the area all-state picks.
Warroad: Defensemen Hannah Johnston (8 goals, 10 assists) and Beth Olson (4-19), goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie (13 shutouts, .957 save percentage, 0.90 goals-against average) and forwards Kayla Gardner (36-42), Layla Marvin (37-43), Lisa Marvin (31-52) and Karley Sylvester (30-47, Ms. Hockey award winner). All are seniors except Gardner and Lisa Marvin, both sophomores, and Johnston, a junior.
East Grand Forks Senior High: Senior forward Leah Jensen (53-16, the program’s first all-state selection).
Crookston: Senior forward Shannon Kaiser (39-19).
Roseau: Senior forward Abby Ness (32-16), the area’s only Class AA selection.
Three area players — Warroad’s Lynn Astrup and Megan Brettingen and Crookston’s Brianna Breiland — were Class A honorable mentions.
Four reach 1,000
Four area athletes recently reached the 1,000-point milestone for their basketball careers.
- Jake Hagler, North Star: The sophomore is a fourth-year varsity player who averages 18.2 points, but playmaking has always been his forte.
“Jake’s a playmaker first, but we’ve needed him to be more of a scorer this year,” Bearcats coach Jeff Hagler said. “He’s improved his range. Going into this year, he’d made one 3-pointer, but he has 18 this year. But most of his points are still off penetration.”
- Melvin Langstaff, Warwick: The 5-10 junior point guard finished his season with 1,031 points. He averaged 28 points this winter.
“He scores most of his points off penetration,” Warwick coach Kevin Bennefeld said. “Melvin’s a very good ballhandler. Once he gets inside, he’s very crafty.”
- Kevin Longtin, Red Lake County: The 6-1, 235-pound post player is at 1,022 points. He averages 16.2 points and 12 rebounds.
“Kevin’s game is strength, getting good post position and working for rebounds,” RLC coach Steve Philion said. “He gets his points on putbacks and close-range shots. Our guards, Scott Herberg and Michael Klein, do a really good job of setting him up.”
- Tate Mosher, Fertile-Beltrami: The junior is the eighth player to reach 1,000 points under veteran Falcons coach Neil Steffes, but just the second non-senior to hit the milestone. He averages 19.4 points and 4 assists.
“If Tate develops a jump shot, he’ll be really tough to defend,” Steffes said. “He’s a point guard whose game is getting to the hoop all the time. And he isn’t just making layups. He has good fakes, spin moves, shots with a pretty high degree of difficulty.”