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Bentz buries game-winner to lift Spuds to overtime win over rival Roseau

Harper Bentz scored the game-tying goal and the game-winning goal to help the Spuds overcome a 2-goal, third-period deficit

Moorhead's Harper Bentz celebrates his game-winning goal against Roseau in overtime of their boys hockey game Thursday, Feb. 11, in Moorhead. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

MOORHEAD — Moorhead proved on Thursday that the Spuds are ready to contend in the section.

The Spuds overcame a two-goal third-period deficit to take down first-place Roseau 5-4 in overtime in Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 boys hockey at the Moorhead Sports Center.

Sophomore right wing Harper Bentz rose to the occasion for Moorhead (4-3-1), scoring both the game-tying goal and the game-winner.

“We always have to think that we’re in it,” Bentz said. “We just have to keep getting pucks to the net and good things will happen.

“That’s a big game. That’s a section game. Now that we beat them, we’re hopefully going to beat them again and stay ahead of them.”


Max Strand and Gavin Gunders scored two quick goals in the third period to push the Rams ahead 4-2 just three minutes into the final frame, but Moorhead fought back.

“It was 15 minutes left when we got down by two. I just told the boys on the bench that we’ve got them on their heels — it’s going to come,” Moorhead senior center Max Dronen said. “Luckily enough it came.”

A little over a minute after the second Roseau goal, sophomore right winger Thomas Schroeder scored his first varsity goal and cut the deficit to 4-3.

The Spuds just needed to find another goal to stay alive. Bentz came through.

The sophomore tied it up for the Spuds with a power-play goal with 4 minutes, 29 seconds to go in the third period. He got a pass from Max Dronen at the goal line and sprinted straight down the line from right to left, faked a shot at the near post but held onto the puck until he crossed the goalie’s face and put a backhander in at the far post.

Bentz struck again to seal the game with 2:30 to go in the overtime period. He picked up a puck on the forecheck, made a move through two Rams and sent a backhander on net to win the game.


“My linemate got it deep and I brought it to the net and shot a backhander and it just trickled through,” Bentz said.

After a slow start to the season that saw the young Moorhead squad make myriad mistakes, the Spuds are coming into form and have ripped off three straight wins. They’ve cleaned up many of those errors and no longer look like the team that came into the season with only one player with a full season of varsity experience.

“I think experience is an x-factor for us now,” Moorhead coach Jon Ammerman said. “A guy like Max, he’s had experience, he’s been through these types of games. And (defenseman) Grant (Frisch) has. But nobody else has. Outside of those two guys, nobody’s been through that. Now through eight games, half of them have been overtime games and most have been a one-goal game. Our guys are learning to play in those tight games.”

Dronen, the Spuds' one player with a full varsity season under his belt coming into this season, made it look like the game has slowed down for him. The senior captain and top-line center has embraced his role as an experienced leader on the team and is growing into his position.

He scored a goal in the second period and had an assist on the first Bentz goal. He’s tallied four points in the last two games after scoring twice against St. Cloud on Saturday.

His goal came just 11 seconds into the second period. He won the opening faceoff and sprinted into the attacking zone. He got deep into the right circle and put on the breaks, squared up and rifled a left-handed rocket at the goal. The goalie got a piece of it, but it hit with such force that it spun and bounced into the goal.

“Like any player when you have the puck, you try to slow it down and when you don’t have the puck you try to be urgent,” Dronen said. “I’ve just kinda found my groove with my linemates and we’ve just gotten better each game. It’s fun to see.”

Junior left wing Carson Triggs scored Moorhead’s first goal with 6:56 to go in the first period to tie it up. It was his first goal of the season after scoring two last year.


“We had a tremendous effort from our third line of Spicer, Schroeder and Triggs,” Ammerman said. “They were the difference. I think the top two lines matched pretty well, it was pretty even. Carson Triggs, that was his best game as a Spud. Schroeder scores his first career goal and has a few other opportunities.”

Spuds senior goalie Will Kunka made 43 saves — topping 40 saves for the second time in four games. He stopped 42 of 43 shots in a 1-1 tie against Warroad on Jan. 30. That effort earned him recognition as Minnesota Hockey Hub’s player of the week.

“In the last week and a half, where we’ve had some success, Will’s giving us a chance,” Ammerman said. “Our guys late in the game tend to get better. They rise to the occasion.”

FIRST: 1, R, Bjerk (LaPlante, Ginther) 6:56. 1, M, Triggs (Schroeder, Schiller) 10:04. 2, R, Huglen (Severson, Murphy) 12:30.

SECOND: 2, M, Dronen (unassisted) 0:11.

THIRD: 3, R, Strand (unassisted) 1:22. 4, R, Gunderson (Urness) 2:56. 3, M, Schroeder (Spicer, Triggs) 4:21. 5, M, Bentz (Dronen, Gramer) 12:31 pp.

OT: 5, M, Bentz (Krier) 2:30.

SAVES: Kunka 17-9-12-5—43 ; Johnson 7-9-11-0—27


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