In Grand Forks Red River's second game of the season, Michael Coleman recorded a hat trick, but the freshman forward knew his first year of varsity hockey wasn't always going to be easy.
"I kind of knew there was a long year ahead of me, and I had to keep working," Coleman said.
Coleman had another big game Tuesday night with both goals in a 2-1 win over West Fargo at Eagles Arena.
"My linemates were helping me out a lot, and I got the bounces tonight," Coleman said. "It felt good."
Coleman registered his seventh and eighth goal of the season.
"It was good to get him back on the scoresheet," Red River coach Mike LaMoine said. "It's a big learning curve for a freshman. I thought that line played well on both ends."
Coleman scored at 1 minute, 53 seconds of the first period on a rebound of a Morgan Hoefs shot. He then scored on a play at the top of the crease for the game-winning goal at 6:16 of the third period.
West Fargo's goal came from Riley Prochnow at 7:12 of the first period. Prochnow's shot from long range used traffic in front to beat Red River goalie Nick Antonenko, who finished with 19 saves.
The Riders outshot West Fargo 37-20, including a 16-4 edge in the second period and a 14-4 advantage in the third period.
"We came up here without our captain Dalton Bossert, so we were a little concerned about our back end being so young," West Fargo coach Troy Miller said. "But I thought Jackson Prochnow and Sam Ruona did a good job filling in for Dalton.
"I was happy with how we competed, but I felt we left some goals on the table. We didn't shoot the puck well. I was happy with how we played but disappointed we didn't get a win out of it."
The win helped third-place Red River hold off fifth-place West Fargo's hopes to move into the top four in the East Region standings, which would allow home ice in the first round of the region tournament.
The Roughriders improved to 11-5-2 overall and 10-3-1 in league play. The Packers dropped to 12-8-0 overall and 7-8 in the region.
"I think one through seven, the league is as balanced as it has been in a long time," Miller said. "I just feel like there'll be some surprises in the tournament. We just have to get healthy and get right for when the tournament starts."
GF Red River 2,
West Fargo 1
First period -- 1. RR, Michael Coleman (Morgan Hoefs) 1:53; 2. WF, Riley Prochnow 7:12
Third period -- 3. RR, Coleman (Zach Hinschberger, Logan Huus) 6:16
Goalie saves -- RR: Nick Antonenko 11-4-4 -- 19; WF: Gabe Pederson 6-16-13 -- 35