For the Grand Forks Central boys hockey team, it's probably not the best timing to see Roseau on the schedule right after the Rams lost to rival Warroad for the first time in four years.
Rams coach Andy Lundbohm challenged his team Saturday afternoon to avoid the same fate as the three-goal loss to Warroad days earlier.
"I didn't think we started very well against Warroad heart-wise, and I didn't think we started well heart-wise against Central," Lundbohm said. "So I challenged them, and we started to battle for more pucks and play with more heart."
A crisp, physical effort across the final two periods carried the Rams to a convincing 4-1 win over Central at Purpur Arena.
It was a strong bounce back for a Rams team that trailed Warroad 4-0 after one period and took too long to find footing against the Warriors.
"That was a tough one," Lundbohm said. "They played better than us across the board, man for man. We challenged our guys to dig deeper. Central took it to us in the first but after that we responded and found our game. Hopefully, we can do that more often."
The Knights lost for the first time in January and dropped to 13-2, while Roseau, ranked No. 10 in the last Minnesota state Class AA poll, improved to 5-1.
After falling behind 1-0 early and giving up a pair of breakaway chances in the first period, the Rams settled into a dominant groove.
"I think we had a real tough time in the neutral zone in the first period," Lundbohm said. "That's how they ended up with two breakaways. After that, we tried to simplify our game."
After Central's Braden Panzer scored at 3:13 of the first period, Roseau tied the score with a goal by Tyler Bjerk at 14:17 of the first.
Roseau's Paul Huglen scored the go-ahead goal at 7:10 of the second period. After battling down low, Huglen -- the brother of Fargo Force forward and University of Minnesota recruit Aaron Huglen -- picked up a rebound around the crease and scored to make it 2-1.
On Friday night, Central erased a one-goal deficit in the third period with two goals and a victory over East Grand Forks Senior High.
On Saturday, though, the Rams stayed on the gas and added goals from Gavin Gunderson and Brock Monsrud to remove any drama from the game's final period.
Roseau goalie Andrew Tuttle finished with 27 saves, while Kolby Elseth made 23 saves for the Knights, who suffered their biggest loss in 26 games (a three-goal loss to Fargo Davies last season).
"I feel like we got outmuscled on sticks," Central coach Grant Paranica said. "They did a great job sealing us off. We didn't get a strong cycle, just things off the rush."
With the pandemic causing a change to schedules for teams like Central, Paranica was appreciative of the opportunity to play a strong program like Roseau.
"This is great," Paranica said. "I wish we could do this every weekend. It was a terrific game for us to play in and a great learning experience. Roseau played hockey like you'd like to see it played. They move the puck great and find the open guy. You'd want to come out on the other end of it, but you have to learn from it and move forward."
GF Central 1
First period -- 1. GFC, Braden Panzer (Chase Spicer, Adam Arnold) 3:13; 2. R, Tyler Bjerk (Judd Ginther) 14:17
Second period -- 3. R, Paul Huglen (Kellen Murphy) 7:10
Third period -- 4. R, Gavin Gunderson (Huglen, Thor Byfuglien) 7:11; 5. R, Brock Monsrud (Ginther) 9:15
Goalie saves -- R: Andrew Tuttle 8-14-5 -- 27; GFC: Kolby Elseth 10-9-4 -- 23