G-PR falls to North after shootout
Similar to last year’s state championship game, Friday’s contest between the Grafton-Park River (G-PR) Spoilers and Fargo North Spartans went to overtime. Friday’s game ended in a shootout with North defeating G-PR for the second time this season, 2-1.
In the shootout, Jackson Graalum and Max Teschendorf each put goals past Spoiler netminder Zach Nelson, leaving the game to Jade Miller, who missed.
The Spoilers’ first attempt was a Levi Cudmore shot that didn’t get by Fargo North Goalie Christian Coleman.
“We learned a lesson that if you win a shootout, it’s awesome,” head coach Scott Peterson said. “But if you’re giving up goals and not scoring, it’s not as much fun.”
The Spoilers started the scoring in the first period of regulation, at the 8:25 mark, on a Miller goal. Miller’s 18th goal of the season was all the offensive effort the Spoilers could muster against Colman.
“The kids came out well in the first ten minutes,” Peterson said. “But then North tied it up, and the kids really started playing tentative.”
The intensity shown by the Spoilers Friday was the opposite of what was shown between the teams in November. Fargo North controlled much of the first two periods in their earlier meeting.
Fargo North struck next, just five minutes later in the first period, on Matt Connelly’s goal from Cole Selberg.
Peterson said that both Miller’s goal and Connelly’s goal were the result of sloppy plays made by each team.
“Both teams had a lot of better opportunities that they should have scored on,” he said. “But sometimes you put the puck to the net, and it goes in.”
The scoring chances were there early for the Spoilers, but good goaltending by Colman kept the Spoilers at bay.
“We didn’t score, we let them hang around,” he said.
From then, Coach Peterson said, the Spoilers were dominated by the Spartans, with the shots being 31-20 at the end of regulation.
“It’s tough to win when you’re not outworking the other guys,” Peterson said.
The Spoilers killed off seven penalties, all coming after the first period. Peterson said that even though the stats show a good penalty killing night, there are places where the Spoilers need improvement.
“We were really struggling at neutral ice on the forecheck,” he said. “We were giving them easy access into the zone.”
The Spoilers also had problems clearing the puck out of the zone, at times throwing a weak backhand pass to the Spartan forwards, allowing them to keep the play in the G-PR end.
“It didn’t cost us in this game, but it will cost us in the future if we don’t improve,” Peterson said.
The Spoilers will host the Grand Forks Central Knights Thursday night at the Centennial Center in an EDC matchup.