Grand Forks Central's top line of Chase Spicer, Joey Kennelly and Braden Panzer rank Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in the state in scoring.

On Tuesday, not even a defense led by the best goalie in North Dakota -- Fargo South/Shanley senior Zach Sandy and his 95-plus save percentage -- could slow down this trio.

Spicer, Kennelly and Panzer all had three points to lead the Knights to a 4-1 win over the Bruins at Purpur Arena.

"I think we're just doing the little things and the bounces are going our way," Spicer said. "My linemates set me up pretty good. I think we're hitting our stride a little bit."

Spicer led the way with two goals and an assist, while Kennelly had a goal and two assists and Panzer finished with three assists.

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"They're creating space for each other and doing a good job finding each other," Central coach Grant Paranica said. "They're doing a good job capitalizing on opportunities. They're intense, and they cash in."

After a pair of four-goal games last weekend, Kennelly now has nine goals in three games and pushed his state-leading season goal total to 15.

The Bruins actually led early, scoring 18 seconds into a first-period power play. Tanner Kirkeby scored his team-leading ninth goal of the year.

Central's second line tied the game when Dom Gerszewski scored his sixth goal of the season on a backhand later in the first.

The Knights' dominant top group took over from there. Kennelly gave Central a 2-1 lead at 1:03 of the second period when Panzer found Kennelly out front and a Spicer screen allowed the shot to go through.

Less than three minutes later, Spicer knocked home a rebound of a Kennelly opportunity to make it 3-1.

Spicer put on the finishing touches with his second goal of the game at 1:01 of the third period when Panzer whipped a blind pass from behind the net out front.

Central improved to 9-1 overall, while South-Shanley dropped to 7-4.

It was a bit of redemption for the Knights, who received their only loss at the hands of the Bruins earlier this year. Central lost 2-1 when Sandy made 45 saves.

After starting the year 7-1, South-Shanley has dropped three straight. The Bruins have struggled through injuries of late, including one to standout forward Zach Boren. The sophomore, who had 11 assists in six games, is out with a long-term injury.

"I was happy with the way our young guys played; we have a lot of young guys taking big shifts," South-Shanley coach Dean French said. "We have a lot of things to learn. Our wing play along the wall was what really hurt us. We had lots of chances to break pucks out. We just didn't handle that well, but we learned a lot and hopefully that'll help us in the long run.

"No. 1 thing is not get caught up ice against (Central's top line). On the third goal, we did, so the very thing tried to do we didn't do well. You're never going to be perfect. Unfortunately, we had a few lapses and they're very talented and they hurt us when we broke down."



GF Central 4,

Fargo South-Shanley 1

First period -- 1. FSS, Tanner Kirkeby (Sam Ovsak, John Lang) 4:09; 2. GFC, Dom Gerszewski (Carson Seng, Hunter Anderson) 5:37

Second period -- 3. GFC, Joey Kennelly (Braden Panzer, Chase Spicer) 1:03; 4. GFC, Spicer (Kennelly, Panzer) 3:41

Third period -- 5. GFC, Spicer (Panzer, Kennelly) 1:01

Goalie saves -- GFC: Kolby Elseth 5-2-6 -- 13; FSS: Zach Sandy 13-16-7 -- 36