Grand Forks hockey teams have a lot in common heading into meeting
Four games into the boys high school hockey season, Grand Forks Central and Red River have a lot in common.
Heading into this weekend, each team had won three of its first four games. The only blemish on the teams’ records was against East Grand Forks Senior High -- Central lost to the Green Wave in overtime while Red River played Senior High to a tie.
Beyond that, both teams scored 19 goals in their first four games. Central had allowed 10 goals, just one more than Red River.
“It is unusual that we’re so similar in every aspect because I think the teams are quite different,’’ Red River coach Mike LaMoine said.
What the differences are will show up Thursday, Dec. 19, when Central and Red River meet at 7:30 p.m. at Purpur Arena.
One difference is the experience factor. Red River has a veteran defensive corps led by Connor Arel, Logan Huus and Tanner Bernhardson. Central’s experience is with a deep group of forwards led by Will Howard (4 goals-2 assists), Braden Panzer (3-5), William Lawson-Body (2-5), Joey Kennelly (2-5), Chase Spicer (2-4) and Tyler Zahradka (1-2).
“They (Riders) have basically their entire defensive corps back from last year,’’ Central coach Grant Paranica said. “That really helps a team. You can play more time in the other team’s zone. And their goaltenders have played really well.
“We’re rebuilding on the defensive side. But we feel real comfortable with our forwards. And our scoring seems to be more spread out.’’
Ten players have at least one goal for Central. Three players account for 14 of Red River’s 19 goals -- Mike Nottestad and Michael Coleman with five each and Mason Thingvold with four.
Also on Thursday, Grand Forks Central is at East Grand Forks Senior High for a 7:30 p.m. boys basketball game.
Eagles show balance
Ivy Edwards scored 21 points in each of East Grand Forks Sacred Heart’s last two girls basketball games. That accomplishment is the exception, not the rule -- those are the first 20-point games of the season for the 4-2 Eagles.
“Ivy played great games,’’ Sacred Heart coach Blake Karas said. “But we usually have more balance. A great stat line for us is five players around double figures. That balance is good. We want all the players involved in the offense.’’
That balance shows in the averages.
Edwards paces Sacred Heart with a 12.8 scoring average, followed by Madi Mitzel (8.8 ppg), Bella Knudson (8.2 ppg) and Grace Vonesh (7.7 ppg). Adding to the mix will be Sydney Lloyd, an all-conference pick last season who has missed the last three games due to an injury.
“We’d like to get our team scoring average (47.8 ppg) up,’’ Karas said. “That will come. We don’t have everyone healthy yet.’’
Sacred Heart is at East Grand Forks Senior High for a 7:30 p.m. game Tuesday.
State powers to meet
Two of the powerhouse teams in Minnesota Class A boys hockey will meet Friday in East Grand Forks.
The Green Wave play host to Warroad at 7:30 p.m.
Warroad (6-0-0) is second in this week’s Minnesota Class A state rankings. Senior High (5-0-2) is ranked third.