G-PR hits rough patch, drops two
The Grafton-Park River (G-PR) Spoilers had a tough home stretch this past week, taking losses against both Grand Forks Central (GFC) on Thursday and Fargo South-Shanley on Saturday.
Grand Forks Central 3,
The Spoilers took to the ice last Thursday against the GFC Knights, whom they beat earlier in January 10-0. The tables turned, however, as Central defeated G-PR 3-1.
Kaleb Binstock’s stickside goal past Spoiler goaltender Zach Nelson at the 16:28 mark of the first period sent the Spoilers to the break, trailing 2-1. His goal came 58 seconds after Gunnar Garritson tied the game on a screened shot past Nelson.
G-PR managed only one goal in the game—a shot by Levi Cudmore in front that slipped past Grand Forks Central’s Tanner Bender at the 3:52 mark of the first period, which opened the scoring.
Garritson would score again at the 9:17 mark of the third period, as Nelson would be brought out of position after a scramble in front of the net, with the junior forward waiting to poke the puck into the net.
G-PR head coach Scott Petersen said that his team didn’t take advantage of the opportunities given to them.
“Central played really well,” he said. “And we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities. We have to be a little bit more intense and focused.”
Even though the Spoilers outshot the Knights 29-23, the quality shots G-PR had weren’t able to get past Bender.
Central’s Bender finished with 28 saves, with several of those saves coming up big against the Spoiler offense.
Nelson finished with 20 saves in net for G-PR.
Fargo South-Shanley 3, G-PR 2 (SO)
Thursday’s upset win for Grand Forks Central sent the Spoilers into a pivotal game Saturday afternoon against the Fargo South-Shanley (FS-S) Bruins at the Centennial Center, one that went into a shootout, with the Bruins prevailing 3-2.
Levi Cudmore’s goal with 44 seconds left in the third period tied the game at 2-2.
FS-S, coming off a 4-1 win over the Devils Lake Firebirds, skated back-and-forth with the Spoilers for the first period-and-a-half.
G-PR’s Jade Miller had the Spoilers first real scoring chance early in the first period, but the Bruins broke the attempt up.
Just under seven minutes into the second period, Miller got the shot he needed to put the Spoilers up 1-0.
FS-S answered six minutes later on Andrew Blumer’s first of two goals on the afternoon, tying the game with just 4:22 left in the second period.
The third period was largely dominated by the Bruins, peppering 11 shots on Zach Nelson, and scoring one goal just seven minutes in by Gabe Sandy, to put FS-S up 2-1 with under 10 minutes left in the third. Cudmore would tie it, sending the teams to an 8-minute overtime.
G-PR kept themselves in the Bruins zone for much of the start of the overtime period, creating multiple scoring chances, but couldn’t solve goalie Jake Salentine.
“Our effort from the past 2 games illustrates we are not the team we need to be right now,” Peterson said. “We’ll have to take the next few weeks to get ourselves out of this funk.”
The only goal in the shootout came on Blumer’s attempt, which slipped past Nelson’s stick side.
The three attempts by G-PR were all stopped by Salentine. Salentine had 33 saves for the Bruins, while Nelson finished with 30 saves.
G-PR currently sits in fourth place in the EDC standings, with 20 points. With two EDC games left, against Fargo Davies and Grand Forks Red River, the Spoilers can finish no higher than second place, or no lower than seventh place.
The top four teams in the EDC will host home playoff games on Feb. 12, before moving to Purpur Arena for the EDC tourney Feb. 15-16.