Spoilers escape Devils Lake with victory
Grafton short on bodies has just enough for win
The Grafton hockey team traveled to Devils Lake on Thursday and came away with a 4-3 win over a feisty Firebirds team.
Jess Suda scored on a pass from Marek Klement with 2:36 left in the game to break a 3-3 tie and give Grafton the win. Suda started the year on the junior varsity roster but has played well after moving up with the absence of Levi Cudmore who has been out with an injury.
“Jess continues to improve and help the team. He’s still working to catch up to the varsity game speed, but is showing progress every period. He has helped fill a big hole with Levi being out of the lineup,” said Spoilers coach Scott Petersen.
Both teams took awhile to warm up the ice on Thursday but it was the Spoilers scoring first at the 13:29 mark of the first period. Brit Brouillard lifted the puck over the shoulder of the Firebirds goalie, Holden Kurtz to make the score 1-0 in favor of Grafton.
The Spoilers had a great opportunity to cushion their lead as the Firebirds landed Alec Moser and Chris Dahlen in the penalty box at the end of the first period to give Grafton a two man advantage, but the Spoilers could not capitalize and had to settle for a 1-0 lead going into the first break.
The Firebirds skated off the final 16 seconds of the Grafton power play to begin the second period but scored at the 3:50 mark to tie the game at 1-1. Firebirds forward Chris Dahlen scored on a breakaway when Grafton’s Ryan Woinarowicz mishandled the puck at the Spoilers blue line and Dahlen skated in and beat Zach Nelson for the unassisted goal.
The Spoilers however would go up by a goal when Suda executed a beautiful spin-around backhanded pass to Longtin for Grafton’s second goal on the night to lead 2-1 at the 7:39 mark.
The remaining 5:41 didn’t go as well for the Spoilers though. Devils Lake’s Levi Volk was called for a penalty for a shot to the head to once again give the Spoilers a power play opportunity that couldn’t produce. Three and a half minutes later Grafton was called for two penalties 33 seconds apart, one for too many men on the ice and another for slashing by Cody Kingsbury.
The Firebirds took advantage and scored at the 16:50 mark to tie the game at 2-2 as the second period came to a close.
Ben Thompson picked up his second goal of the year at the 3:43 mark when he followed his shot off the right pad of Kurtz and pushed the rebound into the net giving Grafton a 3-2 lead.
After a few penalties on both teams and some rough play Devils Lake tied the game with 3:37 left to go in the game. Cooper Knoke scored on an assist from Matthew Boren to make the score 3-3.
Suda’s goal with 2:36 remaining gave the Spoilers the 4-3 win and an overall record of 8-3-1.
“The kids played well under tough conditions, playing a tough team with only seven forwards available. I’m very pleased with the effort from the top on down,” said Petersen. “We’ll need to continue to improve and get stronger as the season goes on. With Red River coming up, we really need to bear down and focus on being a little quicker in all areas of the game and a little more crisp with our passing. We’re getting into the meat of our schedule so we really need to start playing our best hockey and start stringing consistent periods together.”