« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Published February 02 2012

Undefeated Red River shuts out North in boys hockey

FARGO – When a goaltender improves on an already impressive 1.35 goals against average, you know it’s a good game.

This was definitely worthy of a hard hat.

Grand Forks Red River goalie Bryan Nies stopped 28 shots to help the Roughriders remain undefeated with a 3-0 boys hockey victory against Fargo North on Thursday at Scheels Arena.

“It was huge for us” said Nies, who was given the team’s player of the game award – a hard hat – following the game. “Last time we played them we squeaked one out in overtime. Coming in we knew that this was probably our biggest game thus far.”

Nies and North goaltender Nick Schmit shined in the early stages of the game.

Both turned away everything thrown their way as the teams went back-and-forth.

Red River finally broke through with a Josh Gilbertson goal at 9:52 of the first period.

The Roughriders took the 1-0 lead in the first intermission. But the outcome of the game was still up in the air.

“Their goaltender is top two in the state,” North coach Rob Aasand said. “… We have to play bigger, get stronger, get the stick on the puck and put it in the back of the net. We had about three or four mistakes out there, and they capitalized on three of them. We are right there. We are at the cusp of it.”

Nies was at his best in the second period, turning away 14 shots to keep the Spartans off the scoreboard.

North’s defense helped out Schmit by limiting Red River to just six shots on goal.

The Roughriders pulled away with a pair of third-period goals.

Jacob Benson made the score 2-0 just 14 seconds into the third. Taylor Steen extended the lead to 3-0 with 3:03 remaining in the game.

Red River has now posted seven shutouts this season. The Roughriders have allowed one of fewer goals in 12 of 18 games.

And Nies, who has 15 wins and five shutouts, has now been allowed to wear the hard hats three times.

“We knew we were going to have a good team,” Nies said. “We didn’t think we would not have a loss at this point. We’ve had a couple big wins. Every game, someone seems to step up and carry the team, no matter if it’s a forward or defense or anything.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, GFRR, Gilbertson (Jennewein), 9:52.

SECOND PERIOD: No scoring.

THIRD PERIOD: 2, GFRR, Benson (Lunski, Fugleberg), 0:14. 3, GFRR, Steen (unassisted), 13:57.

SAVES: GFRR, Nies 8-14-6—28. FN, Schmit 7-6-10—23.

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

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