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Red River, Grafton-Park River win state qualifiers at East Region

Grand Forks Red River missed out on the East Region championship game, but at least the Roughriders won't have to miss out on the North Dakota state boys hockey tournament.

Grand Forks Red River missed out on the East Region championship game, but at least the Roughriders won't have to miss out on the North Dakota state boys hockey tournament.

The Riders sealed that fate with four second-period goals to beat Devils Lake 4-0 on Saturday afternoon in a state-qualifying game at the East Region tournament at Purpur Arena.

"I thought we came out a lot better," Red River sophomore forward Dane Montgomery said. "We started to make the simple plays and that's what killed us last night. We started to calm down and play together as a team."

Red River, which lost to Fargo Davies in the region semifinals, improved to 19-3-2. Devils Lake ended its season 10-13-1.

Devils Lake goalie Reegan Reule stole the show in the first period, making 11 saves, but the Roughriders broke through in the second.

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Montgomery had two goals and an assist in the frame as the Riders scored four goals in a span of nine minutes.

Freshman top line forward Jackson Kunz and senior forward Cole Forest also scored in the middle period for the Riders.

"We got back to playing with no fear," Red River coach Bill Chase said. "We let it rip, got pucks in deep and put it away. We finally did some of that. We had five or six games late in the year where we were pretty consistent all the way through ... we need to get back to that."

Red River's key second period was aided by Devils Lake taking two 10-minute misconduct penalties.

Roughriders goalie Nate Bradbury finished with a 17-save shutout.

Grafton-Park River 4, Fargo North 2: For the first time in five years, Grafton-Park River is headed back to the North Dakota state boys hockey tournament.

Matthew Suda had a goal and two assists to lead the No. 6 seed Spoilers to a win over No. 4 Fargo North in a state qualifier.

"It means a lot, not just for us, but for the community," Spoilers goalie Andrew Larson said. "We're a hockey-heavy community. I'm proud to be part of that group to get us back to state."

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With a loss in the region quarterfinals, the Spoilers lost eight straight late in the year. Yet, two wins in their last two games has the Spoilers headed back to state.

"This is what we've been building all year," Spoilers first-year coach Scott Robideaux said. "We needed to rebuild this tradition. Our goal was to get respect back in the program and get back to state. All the kudos in the world to these kids because they did both of those things."

After the teams traded first-period goals, Grafton-Park River's Will Magnusson scored at 9:28 of the second period for a 2-1 advantage.

Then just 26 seconds into the third period, as a Spartans' penalty was expiring, Nathan Gilleshammer made it 3-1.

After Grafton-Park River's Sam Keeley made it 4-1 at 12:24 of the third, North's Dustin Houska scored an extra-attacker goal to make it 4-2 with 3:13 to play.

Larson, who finished with 19 saves, then had to fold off a final two minutes, mostly filled of 6-on-4 hockey as the Spartans played with a pulled goalie on top of a power play.

Related Topics: PREP SPORTSHOCKEY
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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