Central's balance, fast start too much for North
The Grand Forks Central boys hockey team lost eight of its top nine scorers from last year's undefeated state championship team.
That has meant an offense by committee for the Knights so far this season.
Central spread out its scoring again Thursday night in a 5-2 home-opening win over Fargo North at Purpur Arena.
In addition to a season-opening win over Minot last weekend, the Knights have 10 different scorers on 12 goals.
"We're still trying to figure out our identity," Central coach Grant Paranica said. "Players have to learn roles, and I think they're going to do that we'll continue to improve as we go along.
"We've got some goals off the back end and had different guys scoring goals and that's a bonus for us."
Lucas Kanta led the Knights with two goals, while sophomore William Lawson-Body, senior Zack Murphy and junior Cole Wigestrand also scored for Central.
Central finished with a lopsided 41-16 edge in shots on goal, although it was far from the dominant performances the Knights consistently produced a year ago.
Central, which beat North by a combined score of 16-1 last season in two games, gave up two third-period goals.
North senior Brandt Kolpack scored on an impressive individual effort after dancing a defender on a rush, then Chandler Ibach rounded out the scoring with 61 seconds left in the game.
North, which has started the season 0-3, hopes to build off the strong finish.
"When you're down against Central, you can develop a poor-me attitude," North first-year coach Tyler Klein said. "But you score a goal and things change and everyone's leaning forward and wants to get out there to score the next one."
North goalie Ryley Pladson, who missed the first two games of the year with an illness, stopped 36 shots, including 16 in the first period.
But one big lapse in the first period did in the Spartans.
Central scored three goals in a 55-second span to take control. Lawson-Body scored when he corralled his own tip out front, while Murphy scored 15 seconds later and Kanta rounded out the flurry when he hit home a centering pass from the back wall from Hunter Bjorge.
"We asked our guys to get into this game and get comfortable across the first five minutes, and we did that," Klein said. "One shot looks like it's wide and it deflects in, then frustration sets in. We know where we're at ... this is a tough place to win. Guys feel that pressure on their shoulders."
Central now hosts West Fargo Sheyenne on Tuesday.