N.D. BOYS HOCKEY QUARTERFINAL: Grafton-Park River 3, Bismarck High 1
Bismarck High was already concerned with the speed of Grafton-Park River sophomore Ryan Callahan. Then the Spoilers forward brought in the secret weapons. "Callahan just got a pair of brand new skates, and I guess they're working out all right," ...
Bismarck High was already concerned with the speed of Grafton-Park River sophomore Ryan Callahan.
Then the Spoilers forward brought in the secret weapons.
"Callahan just got a pair of brand new skates, and I guess they're working out all right," Spoilers coach Scott Petersen said.
The quick Callahan netted a pair of goals and that was enough for the Spoilers as Grafton-Park River beat Bismarck High 3-1 today in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota state boys hockey tournament at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The Spoilers (14-10-1) advance to the semifinals against Grand Forks Central at 6:30 Friday night.
"I knew coming into the game that I wanted to use my speed to my advantage," said Callahan, who scored a goal in each of the first two periods. "On both of my goals, I beat the defenseman wide and the shot happened to go in."
Petersen said he isn't surprised by the youngster's production at tournament time.
"We've had high expectations of him, even as a freshman last year," Petersen said. "He's grown so much between the end of last year and the beginning of this year. He's a quick, strong kid and it was nice to see him get a couple of goals."
The Spoilers were in control nearly the whole way -- until Bismarck High made it a one-goal game with 1 minute, 46 seconds left in the third period.
From a shallow angle along the end line, Jared Connell sniped a shot past Spoilers goalie Zach Suda, who finished with 22 saves.
The Demons then pulled goalie Brett Malkmus. But with 59 seconds remaining, Spoilers forward Cole Rehovsky took the puck in the neutral zone and lofted it up and off the outstretched glove of a Bismarck defenseman. The puck deflected off the mitt and into the empty net for the final margin.
"We're not a team that scores a lot of goals," Bismarck High coach Mike Peluso said. "We kept it at a 1- or 2-goal game, but we've got to be able to capitalize on a chance here or there."
The Spoilers limited those chances, especially in the second period. The Demons managed just one shot on net in the middle frame.
"We wanted to concentrate on taking care of our defensive zone, and we did a great job of that," Peluso said. "But like I said, we don't score much. So we get down one goal, and we struggle. If we get up one goal, we're usually fine."
Suda was solid in the final period, stopping nine shots. With 9:15 left in the third period, Suda sprawled onto his back to stuff a flurry of chances, including a batted-attempt by Connell. Then just 15 seconds later, Suda stood tall after the Demons took multiple whacks at a loose puck in front.
Suda preserved the two-goal lead for the time being and set up the Spoilers' third matchup with the Knights. Grafton-Park River is 1-0-1 against Central this year.
"I don't think we're playing our best hockey right now," Callahan said. "But we're definitely going to have to show it pretty soon."