GRAND FORKS — The Fargo South-Shanley boys hockey team came to Grand Forks on a four-game winless stretch, last claiming victory on Jan. 12.
But on Tuesday night, the Bruins didn't look like a team reeling.
Instead, South-Shanley pocketed two goals 68 seconds apart to beat Grand Forks Red River 2-1 at Eagles Arena to leapfrog the Roughriders for second place in North Dakota's East Region standings.
South-Shanley standout goalie Zach Sandy had to make 45 saves in a 2-1 loss to Red River right before Christmas. He only needed to make 22 saves for the win in the rematch.
"It was how we broke the puck out," South-Shanley coach Dean French said. "We did a better job in our own zone. We don't score a lot of goals, we never do, but we found a way to get a couple in. We skated well and handled their pressure."
Red River never led. Tanner Kirkeby scored a power-play goal — his team-leading 10th of the year — at the 5 minutes, 7 seconds mark of the second period off the skates of a Red River defender to make it 1-0. At 6:15 of the second, Luke Schielke scored on a rebound in front to push the lead to two.
"The hard part for us is to get to two," French said. "We know that, so we're under extreme pressure, but we live in that mentality. We understand it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but tonight it worked."
The Riders scored what appeared to be an important goal before the end of the second. Carter Sproule made it 2-1 when he lofted a shot toward Sandy while fading away from the net. The puck was able to just sneak under the crossbar.
Red River, which didn't receive a single power-play opportunity, nearly scored the game-tying goal with three minutes left. With a bouncing puck around the goal line following a scrum, Red River players on the ice gestured as though it was a goal, but the referees waved it off.
The Riders' comeback hopes were hampered with 1:21 left when Red River took a tripping penalty. Red River goalie Andrew Peterson came off for an extra attacker for the final minute but Red River didn't have many great looks in the final moments.
Red River also had to deal with the loss of leading scorer Brendan Mullen, who was banged up in the second period and didn't return.
"I could tell right from the drop of the puck, I didn't think our energy or urgency were good," Red River coach Tim Skarperud said. "It didn't feel like a second-place game. It felt like we were just here. It seems like every year teams go through a lull but hopefully ours is just a one-day lull."
Fargo South-Shanley 2,
GF Red River 1
Second period — 1. FSS, Tanner Kirkeby 5:07; 2. FSS, Luke Schielke (Ben Spanier) 6:15; 3. RR, Carter Sproule 16:04
Goalie saves — RR: Andrew Peterson 5-6-5 — 16; FSS: Zach Sandy 7-6-9 — 22