FARGO - The Fargo Davies boys hockey program left no doubt in advancing to the North Dakota state championship game for the first time in program history.
The Eagles controlled from start to finish in a 4-0 win over Bismarck Century Friday night in the semifinals of the state tournament at Scheels Arena.
The win sets up a showdown with tournament favorite and back-to-back defending champion, Grand Forks Central.
“It’s huge for our school and our program, and I’m super excited,” Davies forward Cade Stibbe said. “I think everyone’s going to be counting on Central to win. I think we have a belief in our locker room, and we know what we can do.”
The undefeated Knights, who haven’t lost to a North Dakota opponent since the 2016 state tournament, has beaten Davies three times this year - 3-0, 6-2 and 7-1.
For perhaps the first time all year, however, Central appeared vulnerable in a 3-2 win over Bismarck High in the state semifinals.
“We talked about how we know we can skate with them,” Davies interim coach Dean Wilson said. “They have great depth. We have to focus on playing great defense. If we do that, we’ll give ourselves an opportunity.”
The defense for Davies (18-8-0) was on point against Century (21-3-1). The Patriots entered the game averaging 5.28 goals per game. They were shutout for the second time all season.
“We had a hard time getting pucks and bodies to the net,” Century coach Troy Olson said. “They did a nice job of playing team defense. It was hard to get Grade A chances.”
Davies was led by two goals from Stibbe and one each from Tyler Corbid and Jackson Bellerud.
Stibbe also had a goal and three assists in the state quarterfinals.
“You try to body up on him and slow him down, but he’s explosive,” Olson said. “They get up ice really fast and they gave us trouble with odd-man rushes.”
FIRST PERIOD: 1. FD, Stibbe 8:44. 2. FD, Corbid (Potas) 9:55.
SECOND PERIOD: 3. FD, Bellerud (Larson, Schmidt) 16:31.
THIRD PERIOD: 4. FD, Stibbe ( Jensen, Larson) 2:35.
GOALIE SAVES: FD, Winter 10-9-7--26; BC, Schmidt 13-4-7--24
Fargo South-Shanley 9, Mandan 1
FIRST PERIOD: 1. FSS D. Sandy (Kirkeby, Iverson) 13:00.
SECOND PERIOD: 2. FSS Senf (Zasada) 1:51. 3. FSS Zasada (Gores, Senf) 4:43. 4. M Blowers (Fey, Zander) 9:10. 5. FSS Kirkeby (D. Sandy, Donabauer) 10:55. 6. FSS Senf (Kirkeby, Zasada) 12:57. 7. FSS Lantz (Morehart, Johnson) 13:17. 8. Zasada (Senf, Gores) 16:48.
THIRD PERIOD. 9. FSS D. Sandy 3:49. 10. FSS Zasada (Senf) 10:28.
GOALIE SAVES: FSS, Z. Sandy 4-8-x--12; Eckare x-x-5--5. M, Mattern 11-11--22; Clausen x-3-7--10.
Grand Forks Red River 2, Minot 1
FIRST PERIOD: 1. GFRR Andrade, 1:26.
SECOND PERIOD: 2. GFRR Andrade (Savage, Mullen), 10:43.
THIRD PERIOD: 3. M Phillion (Thongphet), 16:08.
GOALIE SAVES: GFRR, Bradbury 7-1-12--20; M, Nelson 5-11-6--22.