East Grand Forks wins shootout after Red River, Green Wave skate to tie
When East Grand Forks Senior High snapped Grand Forks Central's 43-game winning streak earlier this week, the overtime victory signaled the Gambucci Cup would be far more up for grabs than the past few years of Central dominance.
Then, Saturday evening at Purpur Arena, when East Grand Forks and Grand Forks Red River skated to a 4-4 tie -- with the Green Wave winning a 16-player shootout -- the result indicated one further step for the Gambucci Cup: It's not just a two-team race.
"I think these (Gambucci Cup) games are good every year," EGF coach Tyler Palmiscno said. "I think all three teams are fairly even and that's what you're seeing. When you play rivalry games like that ... I think we were more skilled, but (Red River) competed damn hard and that's what you get in rivalry games. You can throw some of that skill out the window, and it's pretty even."
Said Red River first-year coach Mike LaMoine: "We just played a really, really skilled hockey team. We were great spectators for a while when they were moving the puck around. We look forward to playing them again, and we want a little more time to polish our game. And it won't be long until we play against Central, and they're as equally as talented as these guys."
Red River plays Central on Dec. 19.
The Green Wave, the No. 3-ranked team in Minnesota Class A, are now 3-0-2, while the Roughriders improved to 3-0.
East Grand Forks, which outshot Red River 32-22, held leads of 2-1 and 4-3 but the Roughriders wouldn't go away.
Red River senior forward Michael Notlestad, with an assist from Jake Grandstrand, scored with 3 minutes, 28 seconds left in the third period to force overtime.
The Riders also received two goals from Mason Thingvold and one from Justin Wasvick.
The Wave, who battled through killing a five-minute power play in both the first and second periods, received goals from Nathaniel Emery, Tanner Lubinski, Josh Nelson and Trey Ausmus.
"We fought it from the drop of the puck," Palmiscno said. "That was partly us, coming off the Tuesday game. A game like that, and you're going to have a down-spell. But I also thought Red River was good and the most hard-working Red River team I've seen in a long time. You have to give credit for how hard they competed."
It was a quick turnaround for Red River, who beat West Fargo Sheyenne 4-2 on Friday night. Puck dropped at 5:15 p.m. the following day against the Green Wave.
"We were looking forward to it," LaMoine said. "The guys were practicing for the last week and a half, and they were tired of practicing. I thought last night there was a lot of rust and tonight they came out with a lot more focused effort.
"I'm proud of our effort. I'm proud of how hard we worked. I thought it was a step in the right direction. I like how the kids came to the rink and put in a workman's effort."
Although the game will officially end in a tie, the teams went to a shootout in order to determine standings for the Gambucci Cup, which is awarded to the top Greater Grand Forks boys hockey team each season.
The shootout was originally slated for five shooters apiece. But after EGF's Landon Parker and Red River's Michael Coleman were the only scorers in the first round, the shootout extended.
The 16th shooter -- East Grand Forks senior defenseman Josh Nelson -- won the shootout with a backhand score.
GF Red River 4, EGF Senior High 4, tie
First period -- 1. RR, Mason Thingvold (Justin Wasvick) 15:15; 2. EGF, Nathaniel Emery (Trey Ausmus, Carson Schlenk) 15:54; 3. EGF, Tanner Lubinski (Josh Nelson, Emery) 16:27; 4. RR, Wasvick (Thingvold) 16:40
Second period -- 5. RR, Thingvold PP (Zach Hinschberger) 12:05; 6. EGF, Josh Nelson PP (Brody Schultz) 13:32; 7. EGF, Trey Ausmus PP (Landon Parker) 15:26
Third period -- 8. RR, Michael Notlestad (Jake Grandstrand) 13:32
Overtime -- No scoring
Goalie saves -- RR: Noah Burger 6-6-9-7--28; EGF: Austin Cooley 5-6-3-4--18
Note: EGF Senior High won the overtime shootout 2-1 (16 shooters)