Moorhead blocks out distractions to beat East Grand Forks 4-2 in showdown of ranked teams
The Moorhead boys hockey team is adjusting to what coach Jon Ammerman calls "the new normal."
The Spuds have been followed around lately by a camera crew for a reality television show on Fox Sports North.
To add to the hoopla, a second Moorhead star—Carter Randklev—announced this week his commitment to play college hockey at UND.
With Randklev joining teammate Ethan Frisch as UND commits, Fighting Hawks coach Brad Berry has been a looming presence at recent games.
The Spuds, however, haven't let the distractions affect their play.
Moorhead, No. 5 in Minnesota Class AA, spread out its scoring and punched in two power-play goals to beat No. 5 in Class A East Grand Forks 4-2 on Thursday night at the Civic Center.
"People talk about the cameras, but coach said to act like they're not there," Moorhead senior forward Jack Stetz said. "Once you get used to them, you play your game. It's not a huge distraction ... maybe for the coaches more than the players."
After East Grand Forks freshman Landon Parker scored within the first three minutes, the Spuds answered back with two first-period goals and didn't trail the rest of the way.
Moorhead countered with a Parker Dronen rebound goal midway through the first and a Cole O'Connell goal on a rush thanks to a slick pass from Randklev.
The Spuds then scored a key goal in the second period with just seven seconds left on a five-minute major power play.
Stetz scored his third goal of the season on a scrum in front of the net.
"I thought we had a really good effort," said Green Wave coach Scott Koberinski, whose team dropped to 4-4. "They're a good team.
"I think that five-minute penalty ... we got tired after that. But you can't fault the effort. We had about seven straight penalty minutes there and you put your top-end guys out there. You wear yourself down."
Moorhead's Isaac Henkemeyer-Howe and East Grand Forks' Coby Stauss, who scored his team-leading eighth goal of the year, traded third-period goals for the final margin.
The Spuds improved to 6-1.
Moorhead goalie Lance Leonard made 16 saves, while EGF's Carter Krier, a transfer from Moorhead, stopped 25 shots.
"I thought that was the first time this year we've really battled through adversity," Ammerman said. "East Grand Forks does a great job taking away time and space, and it frustrated our guys. We did a nice job calming down and played well in the third period."