East Grand Forks wins game two, 4-2, but KnightRiders claim first annual Border Battle in shootout
Knightrider Taylor Kilgore scores the cup-clinching goal in the shootout and EGF's Kara Ellis scores two to complete a regulation comeback win.
EAST GRAND FORKS — The Green Wave won the game, but the Knightriders went home with the trophy.
After the 4-2 East Grand Forks victory over Grand Forks in the second half of the initial Border Battle between the Green Wave and KnightRiders, the two teams went to a shootout to decide the champion.
“We didn’t quit. Hats off to East Grand Forks. This game didn’t affect us points-wise. It’s too bad that it didn’t happen and I have a little bit of a moral dilemma. I’m excited we got the cup and that we bared down in the shootout, but you want to win the hockey game you are in, too,” Knightriders' head coach Alex Hedlund said.
Freshman Taylor Kilgore scored the cup-clinching goal in the shootout frame, which was a necessary tiebreaker after both teams won games in regulation by an equal amount of goals in the two-game series
Friday’s result leaves a strange feeling for both sides. One team earned a hard-fought victory but watched the other team hoist the trophy they were after, while the other enjoyed the first title in this young series but couldn’t put together a much-needed win.
Grand Forks came into the matchup on a five-game losing streak, with its last win coming in the first game of the series. At 3-7-0, the KnightRiders are hoping to dig themselves out of the seventh-place hole in the North Dakota statewide standings.
“Our last two games we have played excellent hockey, tonight we went away from that a little bit. I was a little disappointed in the execution. I thought we played a little sloppier hockey at times, but it wasn’t for lack of effort,” said Hedlund.
The Green Wave were able to kill off three penalties in the first period and keep the opening frame scoreless, which is only the second time that’s happened for them this season.
The KnightRiders poured the offense on in quick succession in the second period. Quinn Fournier was able to get a point shot through and then Averi Greenwood followed up an Emily Becker shot with a rebound goal. It would match the goal total from the first bout of the Border Battle, but it wouldn’t be the last goal of the night.
“East Grand had nothing to lose and we did. They are well-coached and my guess is they were told to put pucks on the net and good things will happen,” Hedlund said.
With three seconds remaining in the second, Kara Ellis scored to cut the deficit to one and end Kaylee Baker’s perfect night in net for the KnightRiders. Baker had made 24 saves until that point.
East Grand Forks has seen Ellis come in the clutch plenty this year as its leading scorer. EGF, now 4-8-0 on the year, is hoping Ellis can lead by example for a roster that features a lot of eighth and ninth graders.
Games like this border battle allow for some high intensity and competitiveness that help develop those players.
“Usually when we play Grand Forks it’s always a close game, even if one team maybe has a little more talent. I think they are always going to be close. It helps us with our young girls in understanding that things like this are going to be close,” said Green Wave coach Brian Larson.
They were able to get a taste of what that competitiveness can do in the third period. Down by one, the Green Wave were able to complete their comeback and take the lead.
Blake Schultz and Ellis were able to capitalize on second chances, following the team mantra of putting shots on the net no matter what.
Despite some pushback from the KnightRiders, Maggey Plante potted the empty-net goal that secured the two-goal differential.
“We needed that victory. We came from behind, which was even better. To be behind by two and then win by two to put ourselves in position to win the shootout, that was great,” Larson said. “That’s what it ended up being, was getting after our rebounds. They have a goalie that you're not going to be able to beat cleanly.”
Now with one official border rivalry victory, Hedlund – who started the event –is hoping this builds into a similarly tight tournament-style battle for years to come.
“I know there’s a lot of emotion between the kids. They think they’re friends, but then they don’t like each other when they get on the ice,” she said. “I wanted there to be some more meaning for these games. I don’t know why it took me eight years, but I finally got something going.”
Hedlund and the KnightRiders are now looking to take things one game at a time heading into their final stretch of regular-season games. They will take on Williston and Minot next week on Friday and Saturday. East Grand Forks will travel to Moorhead on Tuesday and then take on Fargo North-South on Thursday, as their schedule picks up following some postponements and cancellations earlier this year.
EGF Senior High 4, Grand Forks 2
First period -- No scoring.
Second period -- 1. GF, Quinn Fournier (Averi Greenwood) 3:26; 2. GF, Greenwood (Emily Becker) 5:57; 3. EGF, Kara Ellis (Aleah Oshie) 16:56
Third period -- 4. EGF, Blake Schultz (Madison Stocker) 1:22; 5. EGF, Ellis (Maggey Plante) 6:09; 6. EGF, Plante empty net 16:21
Goalie saves -- EGF: Ashley Corbett 8-6-7--21; GF: Kaylee Baker 6-18-4--28