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Brad E. Schlossman, Published December 28 2012

Roughriders edge Eagles, advance

GRAND FORKS – Bill Chase admits he was surprised during pregame introductions.

That’s when Fargo Davies revealed senior Nick Kazmierczak as the starting goalie, not Tucker Windels, who beat Chase’s Grand Forks Red River squad earlier this season.

“I thought Windels would be in there,” Chase said. “But that guy (Kazmierczak) was really good. He did a good job. We couldn’t score a goal on him.”

Not for a while, anyway.

Red River broke through late in the game to beat Fargo Davies 4-1 in the semifinals of the Grand Forks Herald Jason Stadstad Hockey Classic at Purpur Arena.

Grant Caulfield, Matt Christian and Jonah Kratochvil all scored goals in the final 10 minutes, 24 seconds as the Roughriders pulled away from the only team that has beaten them this season.

It sets up a showdown against undefeated East Grand Forks at 5:30 p.m. today for the tournament championship.

The route there wasn’t easy for the Roughriders, who have won six straight since the season-opening loss to Davies.

“It’s a good victory,” Chase said. “It was hard-grinding, but we’ll take it. We needed it. We did a lot of things better than what we did in the past. Slowly but surely, we’re getting better, so that was a good game for us.”

After a scoreless first period, the teams traded goals in the second with Red River’s Jacob Benson throwing one in from the corner and Davies’ Chase Bischof converting a Red River turnover for a power-play goal.

Then, 6:36 into the third period, Andrew Norman made a power move to the net and Caulfield cleaned up the rebound for the game-winning goal.

Soon after that, Christian scored his first varsity goal on a snap shot from the boards through traffic. Kratochvil rounded out the scoring, tapping home a backdoor feed from Jon Lizotte, who had two assists.

“I thought we just made some mistakes and they were able to capitalize,” Davies coach Brian Davidson said. “The last time we played, I thought we were able to capitalize. They made a couple of nice shots and we couldn’t answer.”

Chase said he wanted his team to cut down on mistakes in the second matchup against Davies.

“We eliminated as many mistakes as we could,” he said. “We gave up a lot of breakaways and a lot of two-on-ones last time. That hurt us. They capitalized every time. We tried to forecheck harder and tried to keep a guy high and not pinch at bad times.”

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, GFRR, Benson (Lizotte) :53. 2, FD, Bischof 14:08.

THIRD PERIOD: 3, GFRR, Caulfield (Norman, Benson) 6:36. 4, GFRR, Christian (Lunski) 12:56. 5, GFRR, Kratochvil (Lizotte) 13:52.

SAVES: GFRR, Sauve 6-7-4–17. FD, Kazmierczak 16-14-10–40.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald