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Published February 02 2011

Fargo South pulls off girls hockey upset against top-ranked West Fargo

Positioning is important, and by staying close to the net, the Fargo South girls hockey team placed itself in a nice situation.

No. 4 South always hovered around the net, and it led to Lindsey Nagel scoring two goals in a 4-2 upset win over No. 1 West Fargo on Tuesday at the Veterans Memorial Arena.

“We really wanted to be in front of the net and we worked hard for it,” said Nagel, who entered the game as the fourth-leading scorer in the state. “Every chance we got, we made sure we went to the net.”

South’s (15-3) victory also snapped West Fargo’s (16-2) 11-game winning streak. The last time the defending state champ lost was in December, a 3-1 loss to No. 2 Bismarck.

Hovering around the net helped South and so did the power play.

The Bruins drew five penalties and converted one chance. West Fargo coach Pat Johnson said the penalties were a problem for his team.

It was evident because at one point Johnson pointed to his head, telling his team to think about what they were doing.

“We took some bad penalties,” said Johnson, whose team usually gives up around two a game. “We got a hooking penalty, a tripping penalty, things that show we were not moving our feet.”

The Packers tied it when his daughter, Kacie, knotted the game at 1-1 with 7:01 left.

That’s when South took control of the game. Nagel took a pass and skated in on net, firing a shot past West Fargo’s Andrea Klug for a 2-1 lead with 5:45 left in the second.

South made it 3-1 in the third when Alli Thomas scored, and seven minutes later the Bruins increased the margin to 4-1 when Lindsay LaMont scored on a 3-on-1 chance.

South goalie Katie Buchholz, who made 27 saves, said beating West Fargo was important for more than just confidence and bragging rights.

“We had three players missing, and that includes two defensemen,” she said. “So for us to play as well as we did against West Fargo, it was a big thing for us.”

So was fending off any last-gasp chances the Packers had in mind.

Pat Johnson said his team started to get things going in the last five minutes of the game.

Kacie Johnson made things a little interesting when she deked two defensemen and beat Buchholz for a 4-2 lead with less than 90 seconds left in the game.

Buchholz said the late goal didn’t make her nervous and neither did West Fargo’s attempt at trying to tie the game.

“What a win like this does,” Buchholz said, “is get us closer to them in the standings, and that’s really important this late in the year.”

Johnson had his own ideas when it came to West Fargo’s positioning.

The Packers face Minnesota power Warroad on Friday, which is no easy task given that the Warriors have five Division I commits.

“We know that we’re their tuneup for their playoff run,” Johnson said. “So we are going to have to skate hard against them, and it is going to be a game that requires us to play well and get back to where we need to be.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1. S, Nagel (Hanson), 2:44. 2. WF, Johnson (Lothspeich, Walsh), power play, 7:01

SECOND PERIOD: 3. S, Nagel (Tupa, Rutter), power play, 11:15.

THIRD PERIOD: 4. Thomas (Hayes), 2:46. 5. S, LaMont (K. Tupa, L. Tupa), 9:06. 6. WF, Johnson (Springer), 15:36.

SAVES: S, Buchholz 12-6-9 27 saves. WF, Klug 9-4-9 22 saves

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548