WATCH: Central tops Davies for East Region hockey title

Fargo Davies' Austin Schmidt threads the needle between Grand Forks Central's Braden Panzer (24) and Tucker Hodgson (2) during Saturday's N.D. East Region championship game at Fido Purpur Arena in Grand Forks. Nick Nelson / Forum News Service
Fargo Davies' Austin Schmidt threads the needle between Grand Forks Central's Braden Panzer (24) and Tucker Hodgson (2) during Saturday's N.D. East Region championship game at Fido Purpur Arena in Grand Forks. Nick Nelson / Forum News ServiceNick Nelson / Forum News Service

GRAND FORKS - For one period, the Fargo Davies boys hockey team looked ready to place Grand Forks Central on upset alert.

The second period?

The Knights scored four second-period goals, including one with five seconds left in the period, to spark a 6-2 win over Fargo Davies on Saturday night in the East Region championship at Purpur Arena.

“We were a little bit dead in the first period,” said Central coach Grant Paranica, who was named East Region Coach of the Year. “We needed to get some energy and come alive.”

Davies held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the first period. Cade Hanson scored at 5 minutes, 30 seconds of the first, while Cade Stibbe scored on a shorthanded breakaway at 15:26 to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.

“We came out a little slow after a pretty big win over our crosstown rival yesterday,” Central’s said Cole Hanson, who was named East Region senior athlete of the year. “We wanted to come out hard and it didn’t happen. We were pretty lackadaisical. We needed to calm down and move our feet. Once we did that, we started to play pretty well.”

Hanson, whose team improved to 22-0-0, finished with two goals and three assists and now has a North Dakota-best 36 goals on the year.

“I don’t think anyone was panicking,” Hanson said. “We were still focused and composed. We knew once we moved our feet, we could come back.”

Tucker Hodgson, Lucas Kanta, Will Howard and Hanson each scored in the second period. Hanson’s goal in the second was truly a dagger as he scored on the power play with five seconds remaining in the period.

“Their stats on the power play are unbelievable,” Davies interim coach Dean Wilson said. “We haven’t had a lot of time to work on penalty kill but we will next week. Three power-goals and you take that out of the mix …”

The flurry of goals in the second removed all the thought of an uprising from the Eagles, who were trying to be the first North Dakota team to beat Central since Feb. 26, 2016 (Bismarck High in the state semifinals).

Davies didn’t start usual top goalie Jared Winter. Instead, backup John Wuitschick stopped 21 shots.

“(Winter) will be back,” Wilson said. “We rested him today. I thought John played well. You always want your No. 1 back, but we have two good goalies.”



FIRST PERIOD: 1. FD, Hanson (Dauner, Yaeger) 5:30. 2. GFC, Hanson Loyland) 10:30. 3. FD, Stibbe 15:26.

SECOND PERIOD: 4. GFC, Hodgson (Hanson) 7:25. 5. GFC, Kanta (Hanson, Briske) 12:29. 6. GFC, Howard (Briske) 14:36. 7. GFC, Hanson (Kanta, Lawson-Body) 16:55.

THIRD PERIOD: 8. GFC, Lawson-Body (Hanson, Hodgson) 1:01.

GOALIE SAVES: GFC, Nielsen 2-4-6--12; FD, Wuitschick 6-10-5--21.



All-EDC

Forwards: Cole Hanson, GF Central, Lucas Kanta, GF Central, Cade Stibbe, Fargo Davies, Caleb Fritel, Fargo North, Drew Sandy, Fargo South/Shanley, Brayden Jacobson, West Fargo, Tyler Savage, GF Red River, William Lawson-Body, GF Central

Defensemen: Brandon Holt, GF Central, Hunter Bjorge, GF Central, Connor Arel, GF Red River, Max Larson, Fargo Davies, Matthew Suda, Grafton-Park River

Goalies: Nate Bradbury, GF Red River, Reegan Reule, Devils Lake

Senior Athlete of the Year: Cole Hanson, GF Central

Coach of the Year: Grant Paranica, GF Central