Boys hockey: Hurrying to a hat
Grand Forks Central senior Johnny Simonson returns to the defending state champion Knights as the team's leading point-getter from a year ago. He got back to his scoring ways in the season opener Tuesday night against Fargo North. Simonson netted...
Grand Forks Central senior Johnny Simonson returns to the defending state champion Knights as the team's leading point-getter from a year ago.
He got back to his scoring ways in the season opener Tuesday night against Fargo North.
Simonson netted a hat trick as the Knights beat the Spartans 5-2 at Purpur Arena.
Simonson, who had 43 points last season, started the scoring early, tallying a goal at 4 minutes, 14 seconds of the opening period.
"He does the little things right, definitely one of our leaders," Central coach Tony Bina said. "Everyone's coming into this season prepared."
The Knights lost eight seniors and two underclassmen from last season's dominant team.
The focus of the night was special teams. Central had a total of 18 penalty minutes during the game, spending much of its time on the penalty kill.
However, Central would play an aggressive penalty kill, scoring a short-handed goal in the first period and reducing North's shots on goal to merely a handful.
The Knights led 3-0 heading into the final period.
The Spartans, though, mounted a comeback in the final 17 minutes.
"I said don't give up, there's a lot of time left and we had a power play going into the third," Fargo North coach Rob Aasand said.
Two minutes, 11 seconds into the third, Cole Selberg would score North's first goal. Less than two minutes later, the Spartans would score again.
This would be too little, too late for North despite a power play late into the period. Simonson would later finish off the hat trick on an empty net to bring the final score to 5-2.
North's goalie Nick Schmidt racked up 21 saves total, while Central goalie Derek Fuller had 19 stops.
"(Schmidt) came up huge; he's big for us," Aasand said. "The first two periods we could have been down 8-0, but he held us in there for 3-nothing and gave us an opportunity for us to take the game."
Central's next game is against Minot on Dec. 4.
"The guys are skating hard," Bina said. "Our leaders were working hard on the penalty kill tonight."
GF Central 5, Fargo North 2
Key play: Jordy Aamot's goal for a 3-0 Central lead in the second period.
Key player: Johnny Simonson 3 goals, 1 assist.