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Central wins shootout after 4-4 tie with Red River

Central senior defender Kyle Fulton scores clinching shootout goal.

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Grand Forks Central's Connor Litzinger (7) and Dallas Gibbs (5) celebrate a Knights goal in the second period against Red River Thursday at Purpur Arena. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

The Grand Forks Central and Grand Forks Red River boys hockey teams met for the first time this season Thursday night, and the two programs wasted no time turning in a classic rivalry matchup.

Dom Gerszewski and Kyle Fulton scored in the shootout while Central goalie Jaxon Washburn turned away both Red River stakers as the Knights won the shootout following a 4-4 tie at Purpur Arena.

"I thought both teams played great," Central coach Grant Paranica said. "We've had many classics, and this one adds to the rivalry. We played a gritty game, so did they. We can't ask for a better way to go to Christmas break."

The Knights moved to 3-3-1, while Red River moved to 5-0-1.

Facing a two-goal deficit entering the third period, Red River's Michael Coleman scored on the power play at 6 minutes, 56 seconds of the third period to bring the game within a goal.

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Then with 2:20 left, Red River's Mason Reynolds banged in a Carter Sproule rebound to tie the game.

The Knights led most of the way, grabbing leads of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-2. Andrew Spicer scored a power-play goal in the first period for the Knights, while Red River's Dillon Jackson evened the score early in the second.

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Red River's Dillon Jackson pokes the puck past Grand Forks Central goalie Jaxon Washburn in the second period for the Roughriders first goal. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Gerszewski and Colton Bjorge scored midway through the second to push the lead to 3-1 for the Knights.

The Riders went to intermission facing a 4-2 deficit after Sproule scored short-handed at 13:28 of the second but Wyatt Wockenfuss answered back for the Knights 32 seconds later.

"I don't think we had our best," Red River coach Tim Skarperud said. "Give Central credit, they played hard, and we were a little sloppy. We didn't play as five-man units. One thing I was happy about is guys didn't give up. We forced overtime, so you have to take the positives out of it, too."

Red River goalie Noah Burger finished with 30 saves, while Central's Jaxon Washburn made 22 stops.

In the shootout, Central started with Gerszewski, who scored. Red River's first two shooters, Sproule and Coleman, didn't score.

That left the shootout up to Fulton, who has one goal across the past two seasons. Fulton scored to win the shootout 2-0.

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"He's a really good, sound defenseman," Paranica said. "He's finding a little of his offensive game but in shootouts he's been stellar and so that's why we went with him."

GF Central 4, Red River 4, OT, GFC wins SO

First period -- 1. GFC, Andrew Spicer PP (Evan Panzer, Wyatt Wockenfuss) 3:39

Second period -- 2. RR, Dillon Jackson PP (Michael Coleman, Wyatt LeDuc) 6:56; 3. GFC, Dominic Gerszewski (Connor Litzinger) 7:26; 4. GFC, Colton Bjorge 11:15; 5. RR, Carter Sproule SH 13:28; 6. GFC, Wockenfuss (Spicer, Donovan Balek) 14:00

Third period -- 7. RR, Coleman PP (Mason Reynolds, Mason Ray) 6:56; 8. RR, Mason Reynolds (Sporule, Garrett Eickman) 14:40

Overtime -- No scoring.

Goalie saves -- GFC: Jaxon Washburn 4-9-6-3--22; RR: Noah Burger 10-9-5-6--30
NOTE: GF Central wins shootout 2-0.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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