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Published January 21 2011

Grand Forks Red River tops Fargo South in boys hockey

Grand Forks Red River made the most of the good, the better and the bizarre on Thursday.

The Roughriders scored on the power play, shorthanded and nearly from goal-to-goal in a 5-2 Eastern Dakota Conference boys hockey victory against Fargo South/Shanley at Scheels Arena.

“We got some quality chances on the power play and managed to get a goal or two,” said Red River forward Casey Fugleberg, who finished with a goal and two assists. “... We have a big group of guys. We have a lot of strong, fast guys and we like to beat guys wide, take them to net and hit guys hard. We use our size and our speed to our advantage.”

Red River didn’t shy away from attacking the net at any moment.

The Roughriders used their team speed and some nifty stick work to maintain possession of the puck even when killing penalties.

That aggressive attitude helped Red River take a 2-1 lead on a short-handed goal by leading scorer Alan Zahui. Zahui took a pass in the slot by Fugleberg and fired a heavy wrist shot past South junior goalie Rob Goff. Goff was making his first appearance of the season for the Bruins after missing time due to a rules violation.

Red River (9-4-0) scored its first three goals on special teams, including the shorthanded tally in the second.

It could have been four, but the Roughriders just got a player back on the ice from a penalty when Blake Holien scored to make it 4-1 with 6:30 remaining in the third.

The Roughriders made it 5-2 when a Jon Lizotte shot from his own defensive zone trickled off Goff’s stick and into the back of the net with 23 seconds on the clock. Goff appeared to be heading to the bench for an extra skater when he turned back to attempt to stop the shot.

It was too late.

For those keeping score: Roughriders’ power play was good, short-handed unit was better and Lizotte’s goal in the third bizarre.

South (4-8-1) finished 1-for-5 on the power-play.

“Special teams were not our thing, and that’s what’s going to win you games,” South coach Dave Benson said. “That’s what’s been winning them games. They have been doing a great job of it. We just have to sharpen up.”

The Roughriders opened the scoring with a power-play goal by Josh Gilbertson at 7:44 of the first period.

South’s Josh Loken knotted the game at 1-1 with a power-play goal at 13:30 of the first.

Loken had another chance to score later in the period when he broke free from a defender for a one-on-one with Red River goaltender Bryan Nies.

However, Nies stopped the shot attempt to keep the game tied. Nies finished with 26 saves.

“A few games earlier we had a three-game slide and we are just trying to get back on track,” Fugleberg said. “We had a big win against North earlier in the week and we just wanted to get back on track, get a good win streak going and get some good flow going into the playoffs.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, RR, Gilbertson (Dahl), 7:44 (pp). 2, FS, Loken (Simonson), 13:30 (pp).

SECOND PERIOD: 3, RR, Zahui (Fugleberg), 10:38 (sh).

THIRD PERIOD: 4, RR, Fugleberg (Zahui, Lizotte), 2:45 (pp). 5, RR, Holien (Fugleberg), 10:30. 6, FS, Carlson (Etches-Olson), 15:19. 7, RR, Lizotte (unassisted), 16:37

SAVES: RR, Nies 7-14-5—26. FS, Goff 6-9-10—25.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com