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Chris Murphy, Published February 02 2013

Grand Rapids knocks off Moorhead in boys hockey

MOORHEAD – Moorhead’s boys hockey team saw its three-game win streak come to an end Saturday at Moorhead Sports Center, as the Spuds fell 5-3 to Grand Rapids in a battle of top 20 Minnesota Class 2A teams.

Coming into the matchup versus No. 10-ranked Grand Rapids, No. 19-ranked Moorhead’s penalty kill was miserable. The Spuds had given up goals nearly 28 percent of the time when a team had the man advantage and it bit them again Saturday as the Thunderhawks went 3-for-4 on the power play.

“We need to work on our penalty kill a lot more,” Moorhead coach Peter Cullen said. “Our discipline needs to change. I told the guys to not take those foolish penalties. I’m expecting fewer penalties because that’s been a huge area of trouble for us this year.”

Momentum is a cruel game in the sport of hockey. Twenty seconds after Moorhead (10-9-1) received a five-minute major for boarding less than six minutes into the game, Thomas Carey scored a short-handed breakaway goal to put the Spuds up 1-0. Grand Rapids answered 24 seconds later when Jake Bischoff lit the lamp. Shaffer Holum made it 2-1 Thunderhawks with a wrister four minutes later.

“A lot of it has to do with momentum,” Carey said. “Penalties killed us. We were playing short-handed and couldn’t get the momentum swing. That boarding penalty hurt us. It’s tough to gather yourself and come back hard when they score right after you score a (short-handed goal).”

Austin Skjefte tied the game less than six minutes into the second period, but Grand Rapids (14-4-3) added another power-play goal two minutes later off the stick of Jonah Bischoff. The Thunderhawks would never trail again.

With a 4-2 score in the third period, the game was put on the backburner when Grand Rapids winger Cody Mann took a shoulder to the head before falling on the open ice with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game. Mann was face down on the ice for nearly 30 minutes before being taken off on a stretcher. According to a Moorhead team doctor, Mann was told not to roll over, but was talking and moved all four of his extremities. His legs did move while he was down.

“It looked like just a freak accident,” Carey said. “Both guys were going for the puck, our defenseman’s shoulder may have caught his head a little bit. It was scary when he went down. We’re just praying and hoping he’s OK.”

Jake Bischoff made it 5-2 with Grand Rapids’ third power-play goal off an assist from Avery Peterson. Peterson – one of the top high school hockey players in Minnesota – made it 19 straight games with a point with the assist. Carey added his second goal with 29 seconds left, but it was too late for the Spuds.

After dropping five-straight, Moorhead knocked off then-undefeated and currently Class 1A No. 4-ranked East Grand Forks, Class 1A No. 10-ranked Warroad and section rival and Class 2A No. 20-ranked Roseau before falling to Grand Rapids Saturday.

“We just have to start another streak,” Cullen said. “We have to treat every game like it’s our last. Come tourney time, it’s you lose one and you’re done. That’s the approach we’re going to take from now on.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1. M, Carey (N. Uglem), short-handed, 6:17. 2. G, Ja. Bischoff (Jo. Bischoff), pp, 6:41. 3. G, Holum (Simonson), pp, 10:28. SECOND PERIOD: 4. M, Skjefte 5:45. 5. G, Jo. Bischoff (Ja. Bischoff, Horsmann), pp, 7:45. THIRD PERIOD: 6. G, Mangni (Mann) 4:32. 7. G, Ja.Bischoff (Peterson), pp, 8:58. 8. M, Carey 16:31. SAVES: M, Dittmer 10-6-6 22 saves. G, Shepard 4-10-11 25 saves.

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Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548