Red River breaks through in the second to top Fargo North and move on to EDC final

Dillon Jackson scores the game-winning goal just after Jake Jenkins stops a penalty shot in 4-1 victory.

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Roughriders forward Luc Bydal motions to the Fargo North Spartans student section after scoring a rebound goal in the third period of a N.D. East Region boys hockey tournament semifinals game at Purpur Arena in Grand Forks on Friday, February 17, 2023.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS – In a game where every inch of the ice was earned, Grand Forks Red River persevered past a Fargo North team that refused to let their plays develop. When Luc Bydal scored to add insurance, an extra oomph was there to make sure the job was done.

A long pass up ice from Mikey Coleman connected with Bydal, which then turned into a two-on-one. A saucer pass to Grant Gardner was denied, but Bydal would not let the play end. He slammed home the rebound, sending Roughrider fans to their feet and the team on a comfortable path to a spot in the EDC finals.

“They plugged up the middle really well. All different situations where we scored, first goal was on the power play, second goal was a bang-bang play and the third was a nice long pass up the middle to create a two-on-one,” Red River coach Tim Skarperud said.

The Spartans opened the scoring after a quick succession of shooting attempts early in the first period. Caleb Briggeman eventually knocked a puck through the wickets of Jake Jenkins and across the goal line.

“I thought we were a really good team for the first half of the first period,” Fargo North coach Tyler Klein said. “Things got heavy in the third period which got our group nervous. It’s tough when you’re the team trying to get to the state tournament. You grip sticks tight and all the sudden a couple pucks are in your net.”


Momentum finally shifted the Roughriders way when the first power play of the game came along. Activation from the point was noticeable all period, but it finally paid off on the man advantage when Mason Ray collected a puck along the wall, stepped around his man and powered home a shot just under the bar to tie the score.

Throughout the game Fargo North held heavy defensive sticks. Poke checks, pass break-ups and stick lifts shut down many Red River scoring chances. Carter Sproule was a main target for the Spartans as they hounded the senior forward. He didn’t get a clean shot off until midway through the second period when his one-timer from the slot rang off the crossbar.

Then, with 3:03 left in the middle frame, Sproule made his way up the ice on one of many rush attempts. With the attention on him, he was able to dish the puck to Dillon Jackson in the slot who buried it through Nolan Astrup.

“We were just moving our feet all night long,” Sproule said. “Dillon and I have been playing together for a long time and that was where we just kind of put it together. I just knew he was going to be there at the right time and he obviously has a great shot.”

In the second period Jenkins really provided a spark in net that perhaps turned the momentum fully on the Red River side. Despite what he describes as a not-so-steady presence, he was there to shut the door when called upon.

“I was freaking out. Every bit of skating skill I had just disappeared. I was just throwing myself around hoping the puck would just hit me,” he said.

In total he was 25 for 26 on the night, but one save stands out amongst the rest. At the 12:34 mark of the frame, Ray Walen was awarded a penalty shot. As he made his way down on Jenkins, the senior goaltender had already had a good idea of the outcome.

“I could kind of tell right away when he picked it up, he just kind of skated straight at me. I just had a feeling he was going to shoot it and he wasn’t going to make a big move,” he said.


Walen shot for the five hole, Jenkins stood his ground, stoned him with the pads and pushed the puck away with his stick.

Just over a minute later Jackson gave Red River the lead.

“It was huge,” Jenkins said. “I think I yelled louder than I’ve ever yelled in my whole life.”

Skarperud confirmed the spark and is hoping it sticks going forward as each game grows in value.

“Very proud of Jake, obviously a huge stop on the penalty shot. That’s what you need this time of year is good goaltending and he was up for the task tonight,” he said.

Sproule would really seal the deal for the Roughriders with 18 seconds left, but pushing through the Spartans defense and sliding a puck into an empty net.

Red River came into this semifinal after beating Devils Lake 16-1 where 15 different players recorded a point. This semifinal match wasn’t as thrilling offensively, but the chemistry between the first and second line were still evident.

“It is for sure huge. We’re going to have a big game tomorrow night so we are going to have to come ready to play,” Sproule said.


After a brief absence last year, this will be the second time in three years the Roughriders are in the East Region final.

Grand Forks Red River 4,

Fargo North 1

First period  - 1-0 FN: Caleb Briggeman (Brody Milliard); 1-1 RR: Mason Ray (Carson Skarperud, Carter Sproule)

Second period - 2-1 RR: Dillon Jackson (Carter Sproule, Carson Skarperud)

Third period - 3-1 RR: Luc Bydal (Grant Gardner, Mikey Coleman); 4-1 RR: Carter Sproule EN

RR: Sproule 1G, 2A; Skarperud 2A; Ray 1G; Jackson 1G; L. Bydal 1G; Gardner 1A; Coleman 1A

Jenkins - 25 saves

FN: Briggeman 1G; Milliard 1A

Astrup - 27 saves

Digital Content Producer and Sports Reporter at the Grand Forks Herald since December of 2020. Maxwell can be contacted at
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