WEST FARGO — It was definitely rivalry night in West Fargo, and after Thursday night's game, the boys hockey strife between West Fargo Sheyenne and the West Fargo Packers may be more supercharged than ever.
The Packers picked up Eastern Dakota Conference points and town bragging rights in Thursday’s 7-2 win against Sheyenne at West Fargo Sports Arena. Due to the extracurricular activity after the game, a player from each bench was handed a game disqualification.
Seconds after the final horn sounded and the game was over, the Packers and Mustangs exchanged a few pushes and shoves in a scrum in West Fargo's zone.
Two players, one from each team, are unable to play in their next respective contests because of the scuffle. The scrum happened after the whistle, and any contact after the game is over isn't allowed.
While Packers head coach Troy Miller said it felt good to win, he wasn't impressed with the postgame antics.
"We expect more out of our players. Disappointed with our composure at the end, any of that stuff going on from either team is just uncalled for, shouldn't ever happen," Miller said.
Miller and David Benson, Sheyenne's head coach, spoke after the incident. They agreed they had the wrong guys out there at the same time.
"We have some emotional players," Miller said. "We tried to stay out of that at the end, and it just was a bad matchup."
Still, the Packers had cause to celebrate following the win. Brayden Jacobson broke a school record as he scored his 56th career goal Thursday, which was previously set by Jeremy Johnson in 2011.
"It's a big night for Brayden. He's a junior, so we expect him to add to that," Miller said.
Jacobson didn't know he was close to breaking a school record until this season, when his coaches pulled him aside.
"It feels pretty good. I tied it in Devils Lake, and didn't score against North, but got it against the Mustangs," Jacobson said. "It's our rival, so it made it a lot better."
The Packers rose to 11-4 overall and 6-4 in the EDC with the victory. The Mustangs dropped to 2-12 and 1-9 in conference play.
"We have more wins than we did last year, so I think the team is pumped up about that. We played our style of hockey, good forecheck, played OK defense," Jacobson said.
The Packers capitalized on three power plays in the game that featured nearly 10 penalties.
"We certainly practice our power play, but for whatever reason up until the end of the game, we did a good job of keeping our composure and letting them go to the penalty box," Miller said. "I think we had more opportunity than they had. But historically, we do pretty well on the power play against Sheyenne."
The Packers and Mustangs played back-and-forth in both zones early in the first period in front of a packed arena.
Cooper Freije broke loose, and went bar down from the bottom of the right circle to get the Mustangs on the board early.
West Fargo's Jacobson responded in a little over a minute to tie it up.
The Packers would grab a 2-1 lead on a Freije penalty with seven minutes to go, as Jackson Prochnow added the power-play goal.
Minutes after the Mustangs fought off a 5-on-3 early in the second, Sheyenne had the opportunity to capitalize after a Zayne Brunette five-minute major, but were unable to connect on any of their four shots on goal.
Sheyenne's points held strong at the blue line, able to play in West Fargo's zone a majority of the period.
Another Mustang penalty put a dent in Sheyenne's momentum, as Prochnow capitalized on another penalty and netted his second power-play goal of the game from the slot on a Brunette pass. Tanner Nelson added another West Fargo goal before the period ended.
Two minutes into the third, West Fargo was on the board again thanks to a Roehrich slapshot from the point that hit the crossbar and went in. Devin Wolf added another third-period goal as Roehrich made it a four-point night, recording his third assist. Jayden Strand proceeded to score for West Fargo and Andrew Roth for Sheyenne to set up the final score.
FIRST PERIOD: 1, WFS, Freije (Roth), 4:54. 2, WF, Jacobson (Roehrich), 6:10. 3, WF, Prochnow (Roehrich), 10:07.
SECOND PERIOD: 4, WF, Prochnow (Brunette), 12:29. 5, WF, Nelson (C. Bossert), 16:55.
THIRD PERIOD: 6, WF, Roehrich (D. Bossert), 2:20. 7, Wolf (Roehrich), 4:16. 8, Strand (Cummings, Witt), 7:39. 9, Roth (Coles), 10:01.
SAVES: WFS, Buchholz 11-3-14— 28. WF, Pederson 4-13-6— 23.