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Chris Murphy, Published February 19 2013

Spuds blast by Stars in section quarterfinals

MOORHEAD – The last time Moorhead faced River Lakes, it was in its 2010 playoff opener, and the Spuds won a shutout by two touchdowns.

Tuesday, in the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 quarterfinals, the Spuds settled for winning by a couple of field goals, rolling the Stars 8-2.

“I think we made a statement,” Moorhead’s Thomas Carey said. “We came out a little flat, but we got done what we were trying to accomplish.”

Carey notched his first career hat trick to go along with two assists to lead Moorhead (12-11-2) into a semifinal matchup with No. 4 seed Bemidji on Saturday at the Moorhead Sports Center.

“We definitely came out and did what we wanted to do,” said Moorhead’s Tony Uglem, who had five points. “We finished strong.”

Nothing has come easy for Moorhead this season, so there’s no reason a six-goal first-round victory should not come without its negatives. The Spuds could be without two starting seniors for an extended period of time.

Aaron Herdt centered a pass from behind the net to Carey to open up the scoring with 51 seconds left in the first period.

Herdt took a big hit to the head against the boards and was helped off the ice.

Herdt pointed directly toward the trainer’s office when signals of whether he wanted to go to the bench or not were given.

Nick Uglem was helped off the ice when he was pushed into the boards after scoring to give Moorhead a 5-2 lead with 16 minutes, 42 seconds left in the second. Nick came up holding his wrist. Neither player returned.

“We don’t know much yet,” Moorhead coach Peter Cullen said. “We were just playing the precaution. In a game like this, you get ahead and play it safe. Aaron had head contact for sure and we’ll see what tomorrow brings for him. For Nick, he kind of jammed his thumb a little bit and we just kept them out of the way and played it safe.”

The Stars cut their deficit to 2-1, then again to 3-2. But the Spuds scored five unanswered goals from that point.

“We finished off with a statement,” Cullen said. “I don’t think we were crisp through the first. To our credit, they picked it up and just started jamming that thing into the back of the net.”

The playoffs won’t take a timeout just because Moorhead could be down a few.

“We have a lot of heart and soul in the locker room,” Cullen said. “We have guys who can fill holes and play some roles. There’s no doubt it would hurt us, but we still have to play Saturday no matter what. We have to bring our absolute best no matter if eight or 17 are in the lineup.”

Someone yelled, “One down,” heading to the Moorhead locker room after the game. One game was down, but so were two vital Spuds.

“It’s rough,” Carey said, regarding the injuries. “Aaron should be OK, but we’ll have to see how Nick’s wrist is doing.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1. M, Carey (T. Uglem, Herdt) 16:51.

SECOND PERIOD: 2. M, T. Uglem (Mehnert), pp, 3:53. 3. R, Feldhege (Bergeson) 5:38. 4. M, Carey (Borgen, T. Uglem) 6:51. 5. R, Tomovic (Pfannenstein, Herges), pp, 8:27. 6. M, N. Uglem (T. Uglem, Carey) 16:42.

THIRD PERIOD: 8. M, Carey (Mehnert), pp, 2:09. 9. M, T. Uglem (Carey, Mehnert), pp, 4:19. 10. M, Johnson (Lawrence) 11:53.

SAVES: M, Dittmer 3-7-4 14 saves. R, Skluzacek 20-12-15 47 saves.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548