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Red River hands Davies first loss with 3-goal second period

The Roughriders used a 3-goal second period to hand Fargo Davies its first loss of the season in a battle between the East Region's top two teams

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Grand Forks Red River’s boys hockey players celebrate the goal made by Jake Grandstrand during their boys hockey game against Fargo Davies on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Farmers Union Insurance Center at Scheels Arena in Fargo.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum
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FARGO — On a bitterly cold day, Grand Forks Red River brought the heat to Farmers Union Insurance Center at Scheels Arena.

The Roughriders used a three-goal second period to fuel a 5-1 win and hand Fargo Davies its first loss of the season on Thursday in a battle of the East Region’s top two teams.

“That’s a heck of a hockey team over there,” Davies head boys hockey coach Nate Metcalf said. “All their D; forwards that go. They’re just solid. I don’t know if we were prepared for what they all had.”

Davies (9-1-0) hadn’t played a game in 16 days entering Thursday’s matchup against the team that was picked to finish first overall in the preseason coaches poll, but the Eagles didn’t play like it. They pounced on Red River (9-1-0) from the opening puck drop and got several scoring chances in the first couple minutes of play.

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Grand Forks Red River’s Jake Grandstrand battles Fargo Davies’ Easton Rerick for the puck during their boys hockey game on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Farmers Union Insurance Center at Scheels Arena in Fargo.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

“They knew it was a big game. Two really good hockey teams,” Metcalf said. “We were gonna throw everything at them, and I think we did, we just couldn't keep up.”

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While the Eagles owned the opening moments of the first period, it was Red River that lit the lamp early. The Roughriders struck first on a Michael Coleman slapshot from between the right circle and blue line. Coleman sent the puck to the top left corner off a feed from Carson Skarperud four minutes in.

“I thought the first period we were just OK, but then got better in the second and third,” Red River head coach Tim Skarperud said. “We were moving our feet and playing physical and got rewarded for that. But Davies is a good team, and they're gonna be a tough team throughout the year.”

Down 1-0 heading into the second period, Davies would have to play from behind for the first time this season.

The stage was set for a barnburner, and in the first period, it was anybody’s game. But by the second period, the Roughriders had their feet under them.

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Grand Forks Red River’s Jake Grandstrand moves with the puck while Fargo Davies’ Ashton Yaeger reaches from behind him to block the puck during their boys hockey game on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Farmers Union Insurance Center at Scheels Arena in Fargo.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

The teams traded goals to start the second period. Red River grabbed a 2-0 advantage after Jake Grandstrand ripped a shot from the bottom of the circle that went through Davies goalie Trent Wiemken’s five hole. Less than two minutes later, Barron Stibbe fired a shot that beat Red River goalie Noah Burger’s blocker.

Red River grabbed a 3-1 lead halfway through the second period on a 2-on-0 breakaway. RyLee Vetsch intercepted a Davies pass at the blue line and passed to his left, where a ready Mason Reynolds buried it top shelf. Carter Sproule scored a late second-period goal off a centering pass from Skarperud, as Red River outshot the Eagles 17-7 in the frame.

“This one is huge for us. I don’t think it’s a secret that Davies doesn’t like us and we don’t like them,” senior defenseman Wyatt LeDuc said. “So, coming into this game we knew we had to bring it and play well. They’re a good team.”

Though the schools are just over an hour apart, LeDuc said the Davies matchup is one of Red River’s biggest rivalry games of the year. That intensity showed down the stretch, with each team racking up nine penalties combined in the second and third periods.

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Grand Forks Red River’s Rylee Vetsch controls the puck while Fargo Davies’ Hunter Demers tries to steal it away during their boys hockey game on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Farmers Union Insurance Center at Scheels Arena in Fargo.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

Davies, attempting to erase a multiple-goal deficit, was shorthanded for seven minutes in the third period, which didn’t get off to an ideal start for the previously undefeated Eagles. The Eagles were called for a 2-minute minor three minutes in and a 5-minute major just over six minutes in.

“It makes it really challenging. Our top six guys went real hard, and they killed our penalties for us, too,” Metcalf said. “They were gassed. We couldn't get in a rhythm. We did the best we could to try to make some offense when we were shorthanded, but came up short.”

LeDuc, who had a two-point night, netted a power-play goal for Red River seven minutes into the third frame. The 5-1 score would stick, as Davies couldn’t get the puck past Burger.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, GFRR, Coleman (Skarperud, LeDuc), 4:12.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, GFRR, Grandstrand (Ray), 2:21. 3, FD, Stibbe (Bullinger), 4:05. 4, GFRR, Reynolds (Vetsch), 7:58. 5, GFRR, Sproule (Skarperud), 15:54.

THIRD PERIOD: 6, GFRR, LeDuc (Sproule), 6:40.

SAVES: FD, Wiemken 5-14-9—28. GFRR, Burger 11-6-5—22.

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Grand Forks Red River’s Dillon Jackson attempts to score into Fargo Davies’ goal while goaltender Trent Wiemken reaches out to try and block the puck during their boys hockey game on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Farmers Union Insurance Center at Scheels Arena in Fargo.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

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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