N.D. STATE BOYS HOCKEY TOURNAMENT: Riders roll to semis with 10-2 win
The Grand Forks Red River boys hockey team was on its heels for a moment Thursday night against Minot. But just like the 24 other times this season, any instances of weakness don't last very long. The Roughriders improved to 25-0 by regrouping ag...
The Grand Forks Red River boys hockey team was on its heels for a moment Thursday night against Minot.
But just like the 24 other times this season, any instances of weakness don't last very long.
The Roughriders improved to 25-0 by regrouping against the Magicians to the tune of a 10-2 win in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota state tournament at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
East Region No. 1 seed Red River, which is gunning to be the first team in the state since the 1966-67 Central team to finish a perfect season, advances to today's semifinals against the winner of Grafton-Park River and Bismarck Century. The semifinal will be played 30 minutes after the 6:30 p.m. semifinal between Fargo Davies and Fargo North at the REA.
"(Minot) came out hard at us and caught us off-guard," said Red River sophomore Jake Benson, who finished with three goals and two assists. "We had some jitters in us for the first period of state. We finally went to the locker room and regrouped."
Red River, which had defeated Minot 14-0 late in the regular season, was leading just 2-1 after the first period. In addition, Minot would have more than a minute of 5-on-3 play to start the second period after Red River standouts Casey Fugleberg and Jon Lizotte took penalties late in the first period.
"Those were absolutely undisciplined penalties by us out of frustration," Red River coach Bill Chase said. "After that, both (Fugleberg and Lizotte) had that look in their eyes, like 'my bad, you will see better out of me.' And we did."
The Riders would kill off the 5-on-3 and score three goals in a three-minute span quickly thereafter. Josh Gilbertson, Fugleberg and Benson each scored to give the Riders breathing room at 5-1.
In all, seven different Riders scored goals: Benson, Fugleberg, Gilbertson, Cody Jennewein, Jordan Lunski, Cody Kuntz and Hunter Spicer.
Benson led the way, while Lunski had two goals and Taylor Steen added three assists.
"The kid's a goal scorer," Chase said of Benson, who now has 16 goals on the year. "He's got a nose for the puck and stays with it. All of his goals were at the crease -- and that's his game. He can shoot."
Minot received goals from Mason Morelli and Quinlan Axtman.
"I thought we played well enough to be in a 5-3, 6-4 game," Minot coach Chad Burchhard said. "But we left too many loose pucks in our zone. Red River is too skilled and too strong to leave pucks in that area of the ice. Red River showed why they're 25-0. They're able to face adversity and still persevere."
Burchhard said he knew his team needed to score early in the second period with the 5-on-3 advantage.
"That was big," he said. "I'm not sure how much it would have changed, but it would have made us believe a little more. When a team beats you 14-0 three weeks earlier, you're grasping at straws and confidence is a big thing."
Minot will play in the consolation round today 30 minutes after the 9:30 a.m. consolation semifinal between Bismarck High and Bottineau/Rugby at the REA's Olympic rink.