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Bentz, Moorhead too much for Sartell-St. Stephen as Spuds keep streak alive

Moorhead got it done on both ends of the ice Saturday as it extended its win streak to eight games with a 3-1 win over Sartell-St. Stephen

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Moorhead celebrates a goal by Harper Bentz, right, against Sartell-St. Stephen during their Section 8AA boys hockey game Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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MOORHEAD — It was senior night for the Moorhead boys hockey team on Saturday, but it was two juniors who provided all three goals for the Spuds in their 3-1 rout of Sartell-St. Stephen.

Junior winger Harper Bentz buried two goals and Joe Kortan netted one as Moorhead (12-5) picked up its eighth straight win.

“It feels good," Bentz said. “I feel like we’ve been playing well lately and kept the win streak going tonight. It’s a big deal on senior night for all the seniors. It’s a cool thing for us to go out there and get the win for them.”

Bentz extended another streak Saturday, now having scored a goal in each of the last eight games.

“I feel like I have two good linemates that can find me and, I don’t know, I’m just shooting the puck,” said Bentz, who has 37 points this season.

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Bentz’s linemate, senior Gavin Lindberg, picked up assists on both of the junior forward’s goals.

The Spuds got it done on both ends and showed no signs of slowing down. Moorhead set the tone from the opening faceoff with its speed and physicality.

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Moorhead's Joe Kortan scores against Sartell-St. Stephen during their Section 8AA boys hockey game Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

The Spuds dominated in the offensive zone and got on the board less than two minutes in. Aaron Reierson passed from behind the goal line to Kortan, who skated in from the bottom of the right circle and put the puck past Sabres goalie Noah Hacker.

The Spuds used an aggressive forecheck that consistently generated chances. On the other side, shots were at a premium for Sartell, which was outshot 13-3 in the first period.

“I thought we did a good job of creating opportunities,” Moorhead head coach Jon Ammerman said. “But they did a great job of stopping second and third opportunities. It was kind of one-and-done for the most part, especially early on.”

Hacker turned away shot after shot from the Spuds, including back-to-back saves that kept Moorhead’s top line off the board in the final seconds of the first period. Hacker saved a slick backhand move by Carson Triggs off a 3-on-1 and stopped Bentz’s ensuing wraparound attempt.

“It was a good game,” Ammerman said. “We found a way to win when maybe the bounces weren’t going our way, which, that’s a skill as well.”

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Moorhead's Gavin Lindberg closes in on Sartell-St. Stephen's Noah Hacker during their Section 8AA boys hockey game Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

The Sabres came out strong in the second period, with three of their four second-period shots coming in the first half of the frame. But the Spuds dominated play and eventually wore down the Sabres.

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After seeing a couple shots hit the crossbar, Moorhead got one past Hacker, who finished with 29 saves. Bentz tucked in a backhand wraparound to put the Spuds up 2-0 with just over four minutes left in the period.

“We just had to stick with it. At some point, he can’t save them all, so we just have to stick with it and eventually one will go in,” Bentz said.

The Spuds had clean zone exits Saturday and didn’t let the Sabres spend much time in their end. Meanwhile, Moorhead continually disrupted Sartell as it tried to clear the zone.

“We get pucks low and just go to work,” Bentz said.

The Spuds picked up right where they left off in the third period. Bentz scored his second goal of the night — his 21st of the season — 41 seconds in on a feed from Lindberg.

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Moorhead's Jacob Vannett watches Sartell-St. Stephen's Parker Comstock close in for a goal during their Section 8AA boys hockey game Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

While the Spuds dictated play most of the game, Sartell found a way to counter down the stretch. Down 3-0, the Sabres (8-6), who moved up a class this year after playing in Section 6A for years, didn’t go away easily.

With 4:25 to play, the Sabres denied a shutout with a power-play goal. Moorhead successfully killed two third-period penalties when the Spuds were called for their third with less than five minutes remaining. Sartell’s Parker Comstock knocked home a rebound off the pads of Vannett 11 seconds into the power play.

The Spuds next play Fargo Davies at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Farmers Union Insurance Center at Scheels Arena. The game starts a stretch of seven away games. Moorhead won’t play another home game until it hosts Hill Murray in the regular-season finale.

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“We’ve had an opportunity to play a number here in a row at home,” Ammerman said. “I think our kids took advantage of that and now it’s a good switch, right in the middle of the season, to get on the road a bit and play some pretty high quality opponents in the next couple of weeks.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, M, Kortan (Reierson, Tweet), 1:44.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, M, Bentz (Lindberg, Triggs), 12:44.

THIRD PERIOD: 3, M, Bentz (Lindberg), 0:41. 4, SSS, Comstock (Lund, McCabe), 12:34.

SAVES: M, Vannett 3-4-4—11. SSS, Hacker 12-12-5—29.

Carissa Wigginton is a high school sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. A Fargo native, she graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Wigginton joined The Forum’s sports department in August 2019.
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