Red River fights through more penalty adversity in a 4-1 win over Central
Coleman and Bydal stay hot with three more points each, including two goals from Coleman.
GRAND FORKS – For the second straight game, Grand Forks Red River had to push through some adversity, but once again it was able to come out the other side with a win. This time against a rival in Grand Forks Central on Tuesday.
Leading 2-1 in the second period, the Roughriders were faced with a five-minute major penalty kill in the opening five minutes on a Mason Ray boarding call. It is the second time in as many games they have had to kill off a five-minute major, after Mason Reynolds was assessed one this past Saturday.
“I don’t like getting in the box as much as we did, but the guys had the right mentality. They were battling and competing and we had every guy ready for that battle tonight,” Red River coach Tim Skarperud said following the 4-1 win.
Before the major penalty, the Roughriders were able to take an important offensive edge over the Knights thanks to two hot sets of hands. Mikey Coleman and Luc Bydal both picked up hat tricks on Saturday against Fargo North and the duo would once again strike while the iron was hot.
Coleman opened the scoring in the contest when he was able to convert a three-on-two rush thanks to a cut inside and cross-crease pass from Bydal.
Then the first penalty of the game would end up costing the Roughriders. With Dillon Jackson sitting for tripping, Central’s Caden Johansen was able to smash home a rebound just 20 seconds into the man advantage and tie the game.
However, it was the Coleman, Bydal and Grant Gardner line that was come up clutch for Red River once again. Pressing a heavy cycle, the three were able to move the puck well in the Knights zone and it led to a backdoor goal for Bydal courtesy of Gardner and Coleman. It would give them the lead and prove to be the eventual game-winning goal.
“They just have an unbelievable chemistry right now where they just know where each other are at and they are just throwing pucks behind their backs and it is going right on the tape,” Skarperud said.
Coleman and Bydal each picked up three points, which gives them seven in their past two games.
Ray’s boarding penalty came 4:53 into the second period and was killed off, but during the middle of the kill Finn Lockwood picked up a slashing penalty for Central, which brought the game to 4-on-4. Carson Skarperud was take advantage of a second chance in front and turned the penalty kill into some more momentum.
“We got chances as the game went on, but I think we sabotaged our own success a little bit. We had a little bit of momentum later in the game and didn’t take advantage of that. I was happy to see us get those opportunities, but that is a good hockey team that is tough to beat,” Central coach Grant Paranica said.
An incredible individual effort from Coleman created a highlight reel goal and all but secured a victory for the Roughriders heading into the third period with a three-goal lead. Out-manned on a rush, Coleman was still able to pull off a cut to the middle of the slot and rip a clean shot through Preston Diederich for the goal.
All sorts of swings came in the third period thanks to some special teams time, but the volume of infractions cut down any clean opportunities to create a comeback for the Knights.
Eighteen penalty minutes were racked up between the two sides, with Red River adding four minors and Central adding five. Given the previous game scenarios where the Roughriders have been killing penalties instead of creating offense from them, when they were given a power play late in the third period they sent out their first line power play unit.
“Usually you don’t put your first unit out late in the game when you have a few goal lead, but I think that was our first power play in about three games,” said Skarperud. “We needed to stay out of the box. When there is a guy in a vulnerable position you can’t blow through him, but we’ll learn from those things. What I do like is when we have had adversity, our character has been very good.”
Red River jumped Central in the East Region standings on Saturday, but results from around the conference on Tuesday have now pushed the Knights into a tie for third with Fargo North. The Roughriders continue to trail Fargo South/Shanley, but look to close the gap over the last four games of the season.