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Greg DeVillers / Forum News Service, Published February 15 2014

Central skates past West Fargo for East Region hockey title

GRAND FORKS – Grant Paranica was looking for performance and momentum.

Casey Johnson agreed. But the Grand Forks Central senior had one more to-do on his list Saturday.

“We wanted to win, too,” Johnson said.

The Knights got it all in claiming the North Dakota East Region title at Purpur Arena. Central rolled to an 8-2 win against West Fargo in the championship game.

“Both teams are in the state tournament,” Paranica, the Central coach, said. “You wanted to build some momentum. If you get off your game, it can be hard to get it back. We were concentrating on ourselves. And I was happy with the performance.”

West Fargo controlled play early, taking a 1-0 lead on Jake Wasem’s power-play goal at 5 minutes, 42 seconds in the first. At one point, the Packers held a 10-3 advantage in shots on goal.

But Central turned that around, putting 17 shots on goal before the Packers got their 11th. The Knights took control with three goals in a 1:35 span.

Ryan Griggs tied the score when a hard Johnson shot hit Griggs in front of the net and the senior finished the play for a power-play goal.

Then Central scored twice in a 28-second span. Nick Lund got the go-ahead score on a deflection. Then Johnson slapped in a goal from the slot and Central was ahead 3-1 with 1:35 left in the first.

“That flurry showed us we could control the game if we stayed out of the penalty box,” Johnson said.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, WF, Wasem (Berginski, Hoy), 5:42. 2, GFC, Griggs (C. Johnson), 13:50. 3, GFC, Lund (Caulfield, Garritson), 14:57. 4, GFC, C. Johnson (A. Johnson, Warner), 15:25.

SECOND PERIOD: 5, GFC, Griggs (C. Johnson, Lund), 0:58. 6, GFC, Lund (Garritson, Monette), 13:23. 7, GFC, Walz (Warner), 13:57.

THIRD PERIOD: 8, GFC, Monette (C. Johnson, Kirchoffner), 0:46. 9, WF, Dirks (Anderson), 10:06. 10, GFC, Olstad (Paranica, A. Johnson), 13:14.

SAVES: WF, Vareberg 11-16-5–32. GFC, Bender 9-1-x–10, Young x-x-8–8.