Boys hockey: Simonson rallies Knights
Grand Forks Central senior Johnny Simonson wasn't ready to hand the Gambucci Cup over to East Grand Forks Senior High just yet. Simonson scored two goals 1 minute, 12 seconds apart late in the third period to rally the Knights to a 2-1 victory ov...
Grand Forks Central senior Johnny Simonson wasn't ready to hand the Gambucci Cup over to East Grand Forks Senior High just yet.
Simonson scored two goals 1 minute, 12 seconds apart late in the third period to rally the Knights to a 2-1 victory over the Green Wave on Saturday night at Purpur Arena.
The senior forward, who now has 17 goals this season, snapped the Knights out of a scoring funk with a tally with 3:14 left in the third period for the evener and again with 2:02 to go for the winner.
"Our mindset was to keep working hard," Simonson said. "Eventually, hard work is going to pay off for you. Fortunately for us, it did tonight."
Simonson made it 1-1 when sophomore Luke Johnson carried the puck into the zone and found Simonson at the right circle who sniped top shelf past Green Wave goalie Hunter Aubol.
Then to make it 2-1 Simonson collected a rebound to Aubol's left off a shot from Johnson and hammered it home.
"Johnny did a nice job attacking the net on the rush," Central coach Tony Bina said. "We got guys driving through the middle of the defense on the rush. That opened up some space and Johnny was able to bury it. It was a great finish."
Central's victory avenges a loss from earlier this season when the Green Wave beat the Knights 4-1 at the Civic Center. A Senior High win Saturday would've given the Green Wave the Gambucci Cup for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
"We talked about it before the game that we wanted to get some revenge and that there was a little unfinished business," Simonson said. "We got the job done and it feels good after that loss earlier this year."
Before Simonson's late heroics, it was all Green Wave.
After a scoreless first period, Senior High got on the board at 10:17 of the middle period when Cory Mack redirected a shot from the point out front on a 5-on-3 opportunity for the Green Wave.
Mack's goal stood through the second period and much of the third. Aubol finished with 22 saves.
Central goalie Eric Melland had 25 stops.
The Senior High offense is still dealing with the loss of top goal scorer Zack Lawdermilt, who could be out for an extended period of time after suffering an injury against Roseau.
Lawdermilt, a junior, has 10 goals and 16 assists this season.
The Green Wave were also without the services of defenseman Gage Ausmus, who was also out with an injury.
"With Lawdermilt out and Ausmus out, we need guys to step up," Senior High co-head coach Tyler Palmiscno said. "For a high school team to have two top kids out ... that's tough to replace. I thought we played a solid game, but (the Knights) found a way to get a couple late ones.
"Central has three real good players, and I thought we did a great job on them for about 47 minutes."