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Red River explodes for five third-period goals to stun East Grand Forks

Carson Skarperud's two-goal, three-point third period sparks 5-3 come-from-behind win for Red River.

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Red River Roughriders forward Carter Sproule (21) and Green Wave defenseman Sam Frost (9) crash into East Grand Forks Senior High goaltender Lucas Wavra early in the first period of a Gambucci Cup boys hockey game at Eagles Arena on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks Red River's chances might've looked bleak Tuesday night when East Grand Forks took a two-goal lead in to the second intermission.

But the Roughriders have been here before.

Red River has trailed four times after two periods in nine games this season.

In those games, Red River has scored three goals, two goals, two goals and now five goals in those contests.

Red River's latest third-period mastery was a five-goal performance in a 5-3 come-from-behind win over East Grand Forks at Eagles Arena.

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Carson Skarperud, a shifty 5-foot-6 junior forward, scored two goals and added an assist in the final period.

Skarperud, the son of head coach Tim Skarperud, batted a rebound out of midair for the game-winning goal at 11:50 of the third.

When East Grand Forks star Jaksen Panzer scored five-hole on a breakaway shorthanded at 4:30 of the third period, the Green Wave led 3-1.

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Red River forward Carter Sproule (21) and the Green Wave's Jaksen Panzer (17) fight for the puck in the first period of a Gambucci Cup byos hockey game at Eagles Arena on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

"We said we had to put it all on the line and give it everything we've got," Carson Skarperud said of the second intermission locker room talk.

Carter Sproule, who also had three assists, scored on the power play in the third, while Mason Reynolds hit on an empty-net goal with 59 seconds left to seal the win for Red River, which improved to 8-1-0.

Red River's lone loss was a shootout loss to Central, a game that goes down as a loss in North Dakota high school hockey, unlike how a shootout is recorded in college hockey.

Tim Skarperud said the third period was about passion.

"We realized the position we were in," Tim Skarperud said. "We got a little angry in the right way. I was really proud of the way the guys stuck together and battled."

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Red River Roughriders forward Carson Skarperud (17) carries the puck in the Green Wave zone in the first period of a Gambucci Cup boys hockey game against East Grand Forks Senior High at Eagles Arena on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Carson Skarperud, who had one goal all of last season, now has six this year and is third on the Riders in scoring.

Over the last handful of games, the pace he's playing at has improved," Tim Skarperud said. "He's grinding out pucks, and that's key for him."

Caleb Schmiedeberg and Zach Stocker scored even-strength goals in the first period — 18 seconds apart — to stake the Wave to the early lead.

But after Panzer's breakaway, that was all Red River goalie Noah Burger would surrender as he finished with 27 saves.

Burger said the key to the third period was finding ways to get pucks on net against the Wave.

"They were blocking everything at the beginning," Burger said.

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Red River defenseman Mason Ray slams Green Wave forward Zach Stocker (16) to the ice in the second period of a Gambucci Cup hockey game at Eagles Arena on Tuesday, january 4, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

The physical game featured 11 penalties, including seven for East Grand Forks.

Skarperud's first third-period goal came on Red River's 5-on-3 chance of more than 90 seconds.

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East Grand Forks coach Tyler Palmiscno was handed a game misconduct penalty after the game for arguing with officials.

Red River 5,EGF Senior High 3

First period -- 1. EGF, Caleb Schmiedeberg (Sam Schumacher, Jaksen Panzer) 12:21; 2. EGF, Zach Stocker (Finley Lizakowski) 12:39

Second period -- No scoring.

Third period -- 3. RR, Michael Coleman (Cooper Freije, Carter Sproule) 1:57; 4. EGF, Panzer SH 4:30; 5. RR, Sproule PP (Carson Skarperud, Garrett Eickman) 7:52; 6. RR, Skarperud PP (Wyatt LeDuc, Sproule) 10:21; 7. RR, Skarperud (Sproule, Mason Ray) 11:50; 8. RR, Mason Reynolds empty net (Eickman) 16:01

Goalie saves -- RR: Noah Burger 11-8-8--27; EGF: Lucas Wavra 9-5-10--24

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Fans at Eagles Arena watch the aftermath of a pileup in front of the Green Wave goal in the first period of a Gambucci Cup boys hockey game between East Grand Forks Senior High and the Red River Roughriders on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

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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