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Tom Miller / Forum News Service, Published January 31 2013

Roughriders rout defending state champion Spartans in boys hockey

GRAND FORKS – The matchup between Grand Forks Red River and Fargo North was expected to be a close duel between two teams expected to vie for the North Dakota state boys hockey championship this winter.

Instead, Thursday’s meeting was a rout that ended with running time.

Red River junior forward Jacob Benson had two goals and two assists to lead the Roughriders to a 9-1 victory over the defending state champion Spartans at Purpur Arena.

“There was no quit in us from the drop of the puck to the very end,” Red River coach Bill Chase said. “It was everything we had been working on, and that’s to keep going and going.”

North beat Red River 3-1 earlier in the regular season in Fargo, a game in which Red River arrived tardy after having to switch buses and later backtracking on Interstate 29 to pick up an unhitched equipment trailer that had drifted into the median.

Everything about the rematch was much smoother for the Roughriders, who moved into first place in the East Region standings with a 13-4-1 overall record. The Spartans dropped to 15-4.

After the Spartans scored the first goal almost 12 minutes into the first period, Red River responded with nine unanswered, including four in the second period to seal it.

“We’ve kind of been in a slump lately, so we wanted to pick it up and show everybody what we are capable of,” Benson said. “This was huge for us, but we know we’ll have a target on our back now.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, GF, J. Lunski (Lizatte, Johnson), 13:11. 2, FN, Klein (Helming, Conneley), 11:55. 3, GF, Bernhardson (Norman, Benson), 15:06.

SECOND PERIOD: 4, GF, Norman (Benson), 0:25. 5, GF, B. Lunski (Bernhardson), 1:32. 6, GF, Benson (Bernhardson), 4:11. 7, Benson (Norman, Sauve), 9:12.

THIRD PERIOD: 8, B. Lunski, 0:57. 9, GF, J. Lunski (Campbell, Kuntz), 9:08 (pp). 10, GF, Christian,10:17.

SAVES: FN, Coleman 14-4-x—18. Toussaint x-5-8—13. GF, Sauve 6-10-4—20.


Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald