Moorhead holds off East Grand Forks, 4-3
MOORHEAD -- Moorhead's boys hockey team was coming off its worst home loss in more than three years Tuesday. It was not something the Spuds wanted to see again.
MOORHEAD - Moorhead's boys hockey team was coming off its worst home loss in more than three years Tuesday. It was not something the Spuds wanted to see again.
"It was tough," Moorhead senior right winger Nolan Westra said. "It was embarrassing honestly. We got outworked. We knew we could do better than how we played."
The Spuds responded Tuesday by defending Moorhead Sports Center with a 4-3 win over East Grand Forks, the No. 4-ranked team in Minnesota Class A.
"This was something we definitely needed to have moving forward," said Westra, who had the game winner. "When we work hard we can play with anybody."
Class 2A's No. 14-ranked Moorhead came out firing, scoring on its third shot of the game. Michael Overbo took the puck in the neutral zone, made a man miss, found Luke Gramer in the slot and Gramer found the Spuds a 1-0 lead 3 minutes, 30 seconds into the game.
Five minutes after he scored, Gramer fired from the right point, but EGF goalie Tucker Brown made a stop and stuffed Kyler Kleven's first rebound attempt. Brown couldn't stop Kleven's second attempt, as he lifted the puck over his pad and the Spuds took a 2-0 lead. Moorhead goalie Ethan Miller kept it that way, stopping all nine shots that came his way in the first.
"This game was extremely important," Kleven said. "All the boys responded extremely well. It was a great win to get on the right path again."
EGF's leading scorer, Tanner Mack, got the Green Wave on the board midway through the second. Mack got behind everyone with a head of steam, Miller reached out to poke the puck away, but Mack was able to slide the puck between his legs for his 13th goal of the season. Cole Avery tied the game up with a redirect on a power play with 14.8 seconds remaining in the period.
"Second period I didn't think we were bad," Moorhead coach Jon Ammerman said. "I thought we did a nice job, but they're a really good team. That's one of the better teams we'll play this season. I told them to just stick with it, keep competing and we were rewarded."
Thomas Horan buried a rebound for a power-play goal less than two minutes into the third to put Moorhead (9-6) up 3-2. Westra caught a Kleven pass that flew through the neutral zone, dropped it in front of him and went flying himself for the breakaway goal with 4:26 remaining to put the Spuds up 4-2.
EGF (11-3) pulled its goalie on the power play to score off a Carter Beck rebound with 2:49 to go, but could not find the equalizer.
"Everybody bought in and everybody was competing, play for each other tonight," Kleven said. "It really paid off. We competed really hard tonight and we just need to keep buying in and playing for each other each and every night."