East Grand Forks hangs on to beat Thief River Falls to stop four-game skid

Grady Magner's two goals lifted the Green Wave to a 6-5 win over Thief River Falls.

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Green Wave forward Jaksen Panzer (17) fires a shot at the edge of the Prowlers crease that goes wide of Thief River Falls goaltender Brett Holmer in the first period of a boys hockey game at the East Grand Forks Civic Center.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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EAST GRAND FORKS — For the second time this week, the East Grand Forks boys hockey team held a two-goal, third-period lead.

On Tuesday night against Grand Forks Red River, the Green Wave gave up five goals in the final frame to see that lead slip away.

So there were plenty of tense fans Thursday night in the East Grand Forks Civic Center when Thief River Falls' Jaxon Brouse found the puck in the slot all alone in the final seconds with an extra attacker in an effort to tie the game.

Green Wave goalie Lucas Wavra skated out to challenge Brouse and made the save.

With that, East Grand Forks is off the schneid.


East Grand Forks sophomore Grady Magner scored twice and the Wave ended a four-game losing skid in a 6-5 victory over the Prowlers.

"We were coming off four losses, and this was a tough one," East Grand Forks senior defender Justin Overgaard said. "In the third period, we got it together as a team and kept it deep in their zone.

"I don't think we're the team we were last year quite yet. We still have a long ways to go but there's two months left in the season. We have a lot of season left."

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Thief River Falls goaltender Brett Holmer blocks a point-blank shot from Green Wave forward Finley Lizakowski (23) in the final seconds of the first period of a boys hockey game at the East Grand Forks Civic Center on Thursday, January 6, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

The Wave led 2-1 after one period with goals from Magner and Jaksen Panzer's 15 of the year.

But Brendan Bottem and Isaiah Villarreal scored in the second for Thief River Falls in the first five minutes of the second to take the lead.

East Grand Forks' Adam Vatnsdal scored his first career goal on a tip in front midway through the second to tie the game at 3-3.

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Green Wave forward Adam Vatnsdal celebrates his goal against the Thief River Falls Prowlers in the second period of a home hockey game on Thursday, January 6, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

The third period was a roller coaster. Brock Schultz scored on the power play with a Panzer setup to take a 4-3 lead, but the Prowlers answered with a power-play goal of their own by Tysen Loeffler.

Then East Grand Forks' Seth Aker scored his first of the season and Magner scored 25 seconds later as the Wave pushed the lead to 6-4.


But Loeffler scored his second of the period for the Prowlers, who cut the lead to 6-5 with an awkward goal from the end line that tucked behind Wavra's back with 4:21 remaining.

Thief River Falls called a timeout with 57 seconds left. The Prowlers weren't able to set up much in the final moments until the last few seconds of the game.

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Thief River Falls forward Thomas Bienek celebrates his first period goal with teammate Brady Skeim (16) as Green Wave forward Adam Vatnsdal (3) looks on during a boys hockey matchup at the East Grand Forks Civic Center on Thursday, January 6, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

"This was really big for us because it was a tough loss to a tough red river team ... that was a battle," East Grand Forks assistant coach Scott Oliver said. "We couldn't win the third period against Red River, so I think it was a good step for our locker room to have a game like this."

The veteran Oliver served as head coach against Thief River Falls as Green Wave head coach Tyler Palmiscno served his one-game suspension for receiving a game misconduct penalty at the conclusion of Tuesday's Red River matchup.

East Grand Forks 6,
Thief River Falls 5
First period -- 1. TRF, Thomas Bienek 2:05; 2. EGF, Grady Magner (Jace Fore, Sam Schumacher) 13:58; 3. EGF, Jaksen Panzer (Brock Schultz, Caleb Schmiedeberg) 15:45
Second period -- 4. TRF, Brendan Bottem 3:33; 5. TRF, Isaiah Villarreal (Justin Funk) 4:20; 6. EGF, Adam Vatnsdal (Schumacher) 8:54
Third period -- 7. EGF, Schultz (Panzer, Justin Overgaard) 5:30; 8. TRF, Tysen Loeffler (Bottem, Jace Erickson) 7:05; 9. EGF, Seth Aker (Magner) 8:26; 10. EGF, Magner 8:51; 11. TRF, Loeffler (Jaxon Brouse) 12:39
Goalie saves -- EGF: Lucas Wavra 8-4-4 -- 16; TRF: Brett Holmer 11-17-13 -- 42

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, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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