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Roughriders, Knights go down to wire in entertaining tie

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Red River goaltender Nate Bradbury makes a quick save as Central's Cole Hanson races towards him during Friday's crosstown grudge match at the Purpur Arena. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald2 / 6
Central forward Kyler Briske races down the ice during the second period of Friday's cross-town rivalry match against Red River. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald3 / 6
Central forward Cole Wigestrand pushes past Red River's Cole Forest for the puck in the second period of Friday night's crosstown rivalry match at Purpur Arena. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald 4 / 6
Knight goalie Kaleb Johnson covers the puck as he gets swarmed by Red River players during Friday's crosstown rivalry hockey match. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald5 / 6
Red River's Jackson Kunz steers the puck away from Central forward Lucas Kanta in the second period of Friday's rivalry match at the Purpur Arena. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald6 / 6

Grand Forks Red River and Grand Forks Central played the first game of the Gambucci Cup on Friday night.

If the opener at Purpur Arena is any indication, the matchups for the Greater Grand Forks boys hockey traveling trophy are going to be fun.

Red River and Central finished in a 2-2 tie before Tyler Savage's shootout goal and goalie Nate Bradbury's final save gave the Roughriders the extra point in the East Region standings.

"If they're like that, (Gambucci Cup games) will be (fun)," Central coach Grant Paranica said. "East Side is right there, as well. It looks like it's going to be tight between all three of us."

The game went to an eight-minute overtime, followed by a shootout featuring three players from each team.

The Knights and Roughriders each had one player score in the first round of the shootout (Jackson Kunz for Red River and Lucas Kanta for Central), setting up a sudden-death shootout format.

Savage scored, then Bradbury stopped Central's Zack Murphy.

"I was looking forward to the shootout," Bradbury said. "I'm confident in shootouts. I've always felt confident in them."

The Riders needed Bradbury to be on point because the Knights outshot Red River 28-20.

"I was proud of our effort but Central came at us pretty hard and made it difficult," Red River coach Bill Chase said. "(Bradbury) hasn't really been tested this year. So we didn't know what he could do. He was stellar tonight. He was the No. 1 star."

Both Red River and Central remained unbeaten. Red River moved to 4-0-1, while Central moved to 4-0-2.

"Obviously every game is a big game, but rivalry night is big for us and we look forward to them each year," said Bradbury, who finished with 26 saves.

The Knights haven't been beaten in 34 straight games, a streak that dates back to the 2015-16 season.

Central started the scoring with a Cole Hanson goal less than four minutes into the game.

Red River answered with two in the first. Maxx Andrade netted the first at 6:25, while Cole Forest scored at 11:18.

Central tied the game in the second period on a Kyler Briske power-play goal just 4:20 into the frame.

The teams were scoreless in the third, a period that saw standout goaltending from Bradbury and Central netminder Kaleb Johnson, who finished with 18 saves.

"I thought we played very well," Paranica said. "We had a lot of zone time. We had scoring opportunities. That's a good hockey game. It was back and forth and Red River played well, too."

Red River played without senior captain Mason Salquist, who had to sit out one game—per North Dakota High School Activities Association rules—after taking five penalties in the team's previous game.

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 13 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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