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Boys hockey: Jobe Freier nets late stunner to send Fargo Davies past South/Shanley

Freier's seventh goal of the season came with 15 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Eagles an upset win over the No. 2-ranked Bruins on Tuesday.

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Fargo Davies' Jobe Freier, right, skates to the crowd to celebrate his goal against Fargo South/Shanley during their boys' hockey game Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, at Scheels Arena.
Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.
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FARGO — Sometimes all you need is a little puck luck.

That was certainly the case for the Fargo Davies boys hockey team against Fargo South/Shanley on Tuesday night.

Despite being outshot 40-19 and the Bruins controlling play for much of the evening, every bounce seemingly went the Eagles' way, including the most important one late in the game.

A scoreless deadlock with just 15 seconds to play in regulation, it was Davies senior forward Jobe Freier finding the back of the net on a rebound to send the Eagles to a thrilling 1-0 victory and stunning No. 2 ranked South/Shanley at Farmers Union Insurance Center.

Freier beat Bruins senior goaltender Noel Olsonawski with the rebound coming off of an initial shot from senior defenseman Jack Bullinger. Freier's seventh tally of the season couldn't have come at a better time.

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"We've been working hard in practice," Freier said. "To finally get that one off my shoulders — it's been a rough year and a tough time getting the puck in the net. But we've been working hard so it felt good."

Freier said he saw the rebound the entire way.

"I saw (Bullinger) crashing the net and just stuck with the puck," Freier said. "I was just ready for that, stick on the ice, and I was ready to bury it."

The Eagles improved to 8-8-1 on the season while South/Shanley suffered just its third loss of the year, dropping to 15-3-0.

Davies head coach Nate Metcalf said he knew going into it that the high-powered Bruins would be a tall task to overcome. The Eagles dropped a 4-1 decision to South/Shanley earlier in the season.

"It's nice to get a little puck luck," Metcalf said. "We were in for it really. Knowing that, our game plan was to shoot pucks in and I thought we executed really well. I knew we were going to get outshot and I think that's kind of the way we're going to have to play from here on out. A little playoff style."

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Fargo South/Shanley's Zach Boren is challenged by Fargo Davies' Ashton Yaeger during their boys' hockey game Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, at Scheels Arena.
Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.

Puck luck with a strong performance in net has the potential to be a winning combination.

Eagles sophomore goaltender Gavin Erickson played a strong game between the pipes. Forty shots came his way and Erickson stopped all 40 for his first career varsity shutout.

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"He's a young kid and he's playing better and better every game we put him out there," Metcalf said. "He played with a lot of poise and confidence and it sure helped cool off the guys on the bench."

"He's been working hard in practice," Freier added. "He has a positive attitude that he brings. This was a big one for him and I think his confidence is going to go way up now."

Shots were 12-5 in favor of the Bruins after one period of play. South/Shanley outshot Davies 17-4 in the middle frame, thanks in part to Erickson and his Eagles teammates having to fend off two Bruins power play chances. The first was a boarding major on Davies junior forward Luke Lorenz and the second coming on a tripping call on senior forward Grant Matter.

The shot total was almost even in the final period, with South/Shanley holding an 11-10 advantage. Neither side had a power play chance in the third, with the only penalties assessed being offsetting roughing minors and another roughing minor at the final buzzer.

Olsonawski finished with 18 saves in net for the Bruins.

South/Shanley hosts Grafton/Park River (6-9-1) on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. Davies visits Devils Lake (3-14-0) next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Metcalf said he hopes Tuesday's result against the Bruins will serve as a turning point for the remainder of the season.

"All year long we've been losing a lot of close ones," Metcalf said. "We haven't been getting the puck luck or the bounces we've hoped for and hopefully this game and the last four, we continue to pick some points off."

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FIRST PERIOD: No scoring

SECOND PERIOD: No scoring

THIRD PERIOD: 1, FD, Freier (Bullinger), 16:45.

SAVES: FS, Olsonawski 5-4-9—18. FD, Erickson 12-17-11—40.

Ryan Spitza joined The Forum in December 2021 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Marquette, Mich., a city of 20,000 on the southern shore of Lake Superior. He majored in multimedia journalism and minored in public relations at Northern Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in May 2019. While attending college, Spitza gained real-world experience covering high school and college athletics for both The Mining Journal and The North Wind.

Spitza can be reached at 701-451-5613 or rspitza@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryspitza.
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