Missing leading scorer, Thief River Falls finds enough offense to top East Grand Forks in section tournament
CROOKSTON—With leading scorer Shelby Breiland unavailable due to an injury, Thief River Falls was looking for some offense here Saturday night.
The Prowlers found just enough of it from Bella Amiot. The freshman scored the lone goal as Thief River Falls edged East Grand Forks Senior High 1-0 in the semifinals of the Section 8A girls hockey tournament.
Thief River Falls (16-9-0), the No. 2 seed, plays No. 1 Warroad (25-0-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday in the section title game with a berth in the state tournament on the line.
Amiot was in the right place at the right time to score the game-winner, her fifth goal of the season.
Khloe Lund's shot from the blue line was deflected off of Ava Sturgeon's ankle to Amiot, set up on the side of the net. She finished the play for the score 1:37 into the third period.
"It came right to me and I managed to hit it in,'' Amiot said. "I wasn't expecting the puck. But I was ready when it came to me.''
Amiot picked up the slack for Breiland, who scored 24 of the Prowlers' 81 goals during the regular season.
"Was I worried about scoring?'' TRF coach Brett Johnson said. "I knew it would be a low-scoring game. Against tougher competition we haven't scored a ton of goals. But we haven't allowed a ton of goals, either. That (Breiland's absence) is a huge impact.
"It was a goal-scoring person being in the right spot. Bella's in the shadows of other, older kids. But she's an up-and-coming player. She has all the skills.''
Amiot's goal was the difference in a defensive battle. Both goaltenders—Faith Porter for TRF and Megan Birkholz for Senior High—finished with 24 saves.
"Faith was amazing,'' Johnson said. "She left it all out there. There were some quality shots against us and she got them all.''
Senior High coach Brian Larson anticipated a low-scoring game, as the teams split two such games in the regular season.
"Megan played really well,'' Larson said. "She was solid like she's been all year. She gave us an opportunity to win.
"We had a lot of good scoring chances. We didn't have puck luck. And their goalie and their defense played well. It was two very even teams. They made one more play.''
Senior High closed with a 15-9-2 record.