Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.
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Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Coach: Tyler and Ron Drechsel (11th season) Last season: 23-5, conference champions, section champions, sixth place in Class 2A Who's gone: Alyson Brenna, Cierra Brenna and Erika Pake. Key returners: Lexie Stebleton, Sr., C; Jasmine Hanson, Sr., P; Megan Meyers, Sr., IF; Mattie Fischer, Sr., CF; Kylie Ritter, Sr., OF; Maria Pake, Jr., 2B; Natalie Steichen, Jr., OF/P; Kiarra Summers, So., OF/P; Morgan Tollefson, So., 3B; Katlyn Brenna, So., 1B/C.
FARGO—After three seasons without the United States Hockey League playoffs in Fargo, the Force are so close to the postseason they can taste it. "We got to get one more win to clinch it," Force coach Cary Eades said. "Just got a lot of guys that work hard and sacrifice for each other. We've been in a heck of a battle since early in the season." The Force took care of business this weekend, winning a pair of games against the U.S. Under-17 team, capping the series with a 5-1 win Saturday, April 1, at Scheels Arena.
Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Coach: Bill Ibach (ninth season) Last season: 24-2, conference champions, section runner-up Who's gone: Blake Kragnes, Tyler Oberg, Cole Tahran, Gunnar Payne, Eric Watt, Zach Dukleth, Matt Dubbels, Jake Schlichting, Joe Weatherly and Justin Hawk. Key returners: Andrew Oberg, Jr., IF/P; Taylor Irwin, Jr., OF/P.
FARGO—If there's a lesson the Fargo Force took from last year's United States Hockey League season, it was the cliché tutorial that every point counts. The Force finished tied with Sioux Falls for the final playoff spot in the 2015-16 campaign, but lost the tiebreaker, missing the playoffs for the third straight season. "At the start of this season our motto for the first 20 games was these points are the same at the end of the season," said Force center Blake Lizotte.
MOORHEAD—For the last three years, Moorhead senior Kara Werth had worked to becoming a Division I hockey player. Her meals were as healthy as possible. Ice cream was essentially eliminated. Her friends joked with her about her early curfew. Anytime she worked out, went through conditioning or woke up early to skate, it was with the idea of becoming a Division I hockey player. The sacrifices, while remaining the top-ranked student in her class at Moorhead, were for something bigger.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn.—Fergus Falls Hillcrest football coach Evan Newman is not happy with the Comets moving from Minnesota Class 9-man football to 11-man football in Class 1A. "We are very frustrated," Newman said. "We barely had enough kids for 9-man. We have 60 foreign exchange students, who count against our enrollment, who don't play football, and if they do, it's their first time and never make it on varsity."
FARGO—Saturday's West Regional championship of the Division I men's hockey tournament at Scheels Arena had to go into overtime. Not because it had to become the first regional since the tournament split into four to have all three games go into overtime. It had to go into overtime for Minnesota-Duluth seniors Dominic Toninato and Alex Iafallo. The 3-2 win over Boston University for UMD was fitting for more than the fact the two seniors had lost 3-2 in back-to-back regional title games the previous two seasons.
The Minnesota State High School League announced new section assignments for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. Here are some takeaways for area teams:
FARGO—The fact Boston University junior defenseman Brandon Hickey was standing, after Friday's 4-3 double overtime win over the University of North Dakota in the West Regional men's hockey semifinals was shocking. He wasn't just upright, after blocking 17 shots, he looked like he wanted to play another overtime. "Exhilarated, tired, but those are the kind of games you want to play in," Hickey said. "That atmosphere was insane. That team was a great team. It was just great to get that win."
FARGO—When they all found out they were headed to Scheels Arena for the West Regional of the NCAA Division I men's hockey tournament, University of North Dakota goalie Cam Johnson, Ohio State forward David Gust and University of Minnesota-Duluth forwards Dominic Toninato and Alex Iafallo all contacted each other.