FARGO — Fargo Davies head coach Nate Metcalf has stressed starting strong to his team the entire season.
The Eagles executed that approach Thursday afternoon at Scheels Arena.
Senior forward Jackson Bellerud scored less than four minutes into the game and Davies built a two-goal lead after one period. That early success sparked the Eagles to a 6-0 victory against Bismarck Century in the North Dakota state boys hockey quarterfinals.
"We've been stressing to kids all year, quick starts," Metcalf said. "Once we start scoring early, we kind of learn to relax and take some of the pressure off. Guys aren't gripping the sticks as tight."
The No. 4 seed from the East Region, Davies (20-5), advanced to the state semifinals for a third consecutive season. The Eagles will play East No. 2 Fargo South-Shanley (19-5-1) in the championship semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Century (17-8), the top seed from the West Region, is set to face West No. 3 Minot (18-7) at 11 a.m. Friday in the consolation semifinals.
"We kept the pressure the whole game," Bellerud said. "All the four lines were going today, and our goalie Trent (Wiemken) played very well."
Bellerud's goal came off a faceoff deep in the Century zone. Davies got the puck in on net off the draw and Bellerud pounced on the loose puck and found the net for a 1-0 lead at 3 minutes, 12 seconds of the first period. Eagles senior forward Conner Turnquist got the assist on the goal.
"It happened to bounce right on my stick and right under the goalie's arm," Bellerud said.
Davies sophomore forward Cam Bullinger added to the lead less than 10 minutes later. Bullinger shot from the left circle and zipped the puck into the far top corner of the net for a 2-0 lead at the 12:53 mark of the first.
"Playing with a lead, you always have like a little leeway it seems like. You can play with definitely more confidence," Bellerud said. "I thought we played really well."
Davies was called for a 5-minute major for checking from behind in the final 30 seconds of the first period. The Eagles were able to kill off that penalty, which extended into the second period, with no goals. Metcalf thought that was critical.
"You're almost expecting to get scored on once, hopefully you control the damage," Metcalf said. "We kept it simple and got pucks out."
Davies built a 3-0 lead at 13:18 of the second after senior defenseman Isaac Balvitsch scored off a shot from the blue line. The Eagles added three more goals in the third period, including two scores from senior defenseman Max Larson. Eagles senior defenseman Tristan Dauner added an empty-net goal for the final margin.
"That's our game, we let our kids free wheel out there and they sure have fun going up and down the ice," Metcalf said. "It's always nice to get a little confidence scoring goals."
FIRST PERIOD: 1, FD, Bellerud (Turnquist) 3:12. 2, FD, Bullinger (I. Balvitsch) 12:53 (pp).
SECOND PERIOD: 3, FD, I. Balvitsch (Rerick, Erickson) 13:18.
THIRD PERIOD: 4, FD, Larson (I. Balvitsch, Jensen) 6:31. 5, FD, Larson 8:52. 6, FD, Dauner 15:23 (en).
SAVES: BC, Ubl 9-13-10—32. FD, Wiemken 6-7-2—15.