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Greg DeVillers / Forum News Service, Published February 04 2014

Griggs, Knights upend Eagles

GRAND FORKS – Grand Forks Central was looking for a spark. Ryan Griggs provided it.

The senior forward’s tying goal started a spurt of three third-period goals in a six-minute span. The outburst rallied the Knights to a 6-4 boys hockey win against visiting Fargo Davies on Tuesday.

The win pushed the 13-7-0 Knights past idle Grafton-Park River into first place in the East Region standings, one point ahead of the Spoilers (28-27). Central also clinched a quarterfinal home game in next week’s region tournament.

Griggs got possession of the puck near the blue line, made a move on a defenseman and walked in and beat goalie Alex Kruger high on the short side. That tied the score 3-3 at the 7-minute, 35-second mark.

“That was the turning point,” Central coach Grant Paranica said. “We were teetering a little. That goal sort of infused us with some energy.

“We’re pretty balanced. But Ryan is one of the guys who has made some big goals for us.”

Central took the lead when Austin Johnson passed across the goal mouth to a waiting Cam Olstad, who was open and stuffed the puck in for the backdoor score.

The two hooked up again, this time Olstad to Johnson, for a 5-3 lead with 3:27 remaining.

“We told the kids between periods that we thought we were getting good opportunities,” Paranica said. “We felt if we could continue to put the puck on the net, eventually the shots would go in. And they came in buckets.”

Davies made it a one-goal game when, after pulling its goalie, Alex Groth scored. But Cole Kirchoffner iced the win for the Knights with an empty-net score with 28 seconds left.

“We’re a team that has scored in bunches and come back in games all year long,” Davies coach Brian Davidson said. “But that sixth one, it really deflates you.”

Davies had answers for Central for two-plus periods. The Eagles took a 1-0 lead on a Tristan Hartness goal 16:14 into the game. Central came back twice, tying the score at 1-1 and 2-2, only to see the Eagles score to regain their one-goal lead.

But Davies couldn’t hold off Central again after Griggs tied the game for a third time.

“We had a couple of breakdowns,” Davidson said. “We weren’t in the right position. We didn’t have them covered and they found the open guys.”

The loss dropped Davies, which entered the game one point behind the Knights in the region standings, to 14-5-0.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, FD, T. Hartness (Pallen, A. Hartness) 16:14.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, GFC, Corbett (Hruska, Seng) 3:50. 3, FD, A. Hartness (Pallen) 6:59.

THIRD PERIOD: 4, GFC, Hruska (Seng, Caulfield) 4:32. 5, FD, Bischof (Groth) 6:43. 6, GFC, Griggs 7:35. 7, GFC, Olstad (Johnson, Caulfield) 10:21. 8, GFC, Johnson (Olstad) 13:33. 9, FD, Groth (Haiskanen, A. Hartness) 15:28 (ex). 10, GFC, Kirchoffner (Griggs, Aarvig) 16:32 (en).

SAVES: GFC, Bender 4-2-11–17. FD, Kruger 7-11-8–26.

DeVillers writes for the Grand Forks Herald