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Darian Brevik / Forum News Service, Published November 26 2013

Kruger, Fargo Davies shut out Grand Forks Red River

GRAND FORKS – Fargo Davies goalie Alex Kruger picked a good time to post his first career varsity hockey shutout. Dating back to last year, Fargo Davies was 0-3 in its last three meetings against defending state champion Grand Forks Red River.

On Tuesday, Kruger and the Eagles’ defense denied every Roughriders scoring chance in a 5-0 win at Purpur Arena – a game in which Davies outshot Red River by a tally of 27-19.

The top line of Aidan Hartness, Tristan Hartness and Bryan Pallen scored or assisted on all five of the Eagles’ goals.

“It was a really good effort. Everybody contributed,” said Fargo Davies coach Brian Davidson. “Alex came up with some big stops on their key opportunities early in the game.”

Red River had some of its best scoring chances early in the game, outshooting the Eagles in the first period 9-7. The Roughriders hit the post once and got denied on a breakaway chance; both would have put them up 1-0.

The first goal of the game didn’t come until the 11-minute, 38-second mark in the first period when Tristan Hartness found his twin brother, Aidan, who fired a slap shot from near the blue line to beat Red River goalie Charlie Churchill.

The Hartness duo would connect again for the game’s second goal midway through the second period. This time, Aidan returned the favor to Tristan to put Davies up 2-0. Less than a minute later, Alek Groth found the puck on his stick after a long rebound to give his team a 3-0 advantage.

“I think we had some first-game jitters,” said Red River coach Bill Chase. “They came out with energy, and we didn’t respond when we needed to. We would sort of shell a little defensively, and they would just overwhelm us.”

Just five minutes after the Groth goal, Davies went back on the power play when Brock Montgomery was called for interference. Pallen then capitalized on the Red River mistake, scoring on a slap shot from near the left faceoff circle.

The fifth and final goal of the game came when Red River turned the puck over at center ice, giving the Hartness duo a two-on-zero on goalie Jon DeBeltz, who started the third period for the Roughriders. Aiden waited just long enough to pass the puck to Tristan, who put the puck into a wide-open net.

“It was a lot of fun once the game was over,” said Davies goalie Alex Kruger. “I was really shaking to begin, but once I got my first save I was OK. My teammates really stuck with me and blocked shots for me.”

Red River dropped to 0-1, while Fargo Davies improved to 3-0.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, FD, A. Hartness (T. Hartness, Pallen) 11:38 (pp).

SECOND PERIOD: 2, FD, T. Hartness (A. Hartness) 7:02. 3, FD, Groth (Bischof, Pallen) 7:49. 4, FD, Pallen (Nereson) 12:11.

THIRD PERIOD: 5, FD, T. Hartness (A. Hartness, Pallen) 1:05.

SAVES: GFRR, Churchill 6-10-x–16, DeBeltz x-x-6–6. FD, Kruger 9-4-6–19.

Brevik writes for the Grand Forks Herald