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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co., Published December 17 2010

Davies holds off Princeton's power-play rally attempts in boys hockey

GRAND FORKS – It wasn’t the way Fargo Davies drew it up, but the first-year program won its first-ever tournament game on Thursday afternoon in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The Eagles were forced to kill four Princeton power plays in the final eight minutes of the game – including a 5-on-3 advantage for 37 seconds – en route to a 4-2 victory in the opening round of the Grand Forks Herald Jason Stadstad Hockey Classic.

Davies improved to 2-2-1 overall and advances to a 5:30 p.m. matchup with defending state champion Grand Forks Central today. Princeton dropped to 1-3 overall and moved to a 1 p.m. game against Bismarck Century in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The game featured, by far, the two youngest teams in the field. Both teams have more freshmen on the roster than seniors. The youth showed at times, but so did the progress that these teams are making early in the season.

Davies sophomore forward Cole Wurzer, who was playing bantams last year, scored two goals, including the eventual game-winner at 8:19 of the third period. He has six points in five games this season.

“I’m starting to get used to the speed of the game and learning what to do out there,” Wurzer said.

Davies coach Brian Davidson added: “We thought he’s showed a lot of promise the last couple of games. He’s a big kid.”

The game didn’t start well for Davies.

Princeton’s James Pyle scored at the 6:00 mark when his shot hit goaltender Tucker Windels, who appeared to make the stop, but fell back into his own net.

Davies evened it at 9:46 when Aaron Pallen fed Wurzer on a two-on-one for a shorthanded goal. But the Tigers regained the lead when Pyle set up Jake Green with a great backhanded pass with just 4.1 seconds left in the opening frame.

After that, it was all Davies.

The Eagles used a goal from Alek Groth, who burned a Princeton defenseman and slid a shot just inside the post at 4:09 of the second, to even the game at 2-2. Wurzer scored a breakaway goal midway through the third to put Davies ahead and Jordan Foster iced it with an empty-net goal.

“We’re getting better every night,” Davidson said. “I thought we got better today as the game went along. We were better each period.”

Princeton coach Jeff Hanson said his team, which lost 13 seniors from last year’s team, can play better today.

“I thought that in the first period, we played really well,” Hanson said. “In the second and third period, we didn’t play well. I thought it was obvious for anyone who watched the whole game that we quit after the first. I don’t know if we thought we had it in the bag, but we can compete a lot better.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, P, Pyle 6:00. 2, FD, Wurzer (Pallen) 9:46. 3, P, Green (Pyle, Fritz) 16:55.

SECOND PERIOD: 4, FD, Groth 4:09.

THIRD PERIOD: 5, FD, Wurzer (Foster, Roscoe) 8:19. 6, FD, Foster (Trochman) 16;53.

SAVES: FD, Windels 10-6-12–28. P, Carlson 6-11-12–29.

Inforum searchword: Davies Eagles

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald