WEST FARGO — When West Fargo scored, Fargo North answered in a high-scoring, back-and-forth East Region boys hockey game on Thursday at West Fargo Sports Arena.
The Spartans jumped out in front early and held onto their lead throughout as they defeated the Packers 6-5 to pick up their second win.
“We found a way to show up and put six on the board and give ourselves a chance to win against a very hungry West Fargo team,” Fargo North coach Tyler Klein said. “I’m proud of the way we fought back in tie games and fought through some special teams adversity.”
After finishing the first period in a 3-1 deficit, the Packers (0-5) tied it back up early in the second. They put up two goals early in the period to make 3-3. The Spartans (2-3) answered with two goals in less than a minute to re-establish their two-goal advantage and never trailed again.
Dalton Bossert made it 3-2 with 4:36 left in the first period with an assist from Brayden Jacobson. Dalton got the puck in the left circle, turned and fired a slap shot to the near post. It appeared that the goalie saved it, but fell out of his pads and trickled in behind him.
The Packers tied it at 3 while they had a two-man advantage. Caleb Roehrich passed to Colten Bossert at the goal line on the right side, before he passed back out to Griffin Staahl in the right circle who had a wide open net to deposit a wrister for the goal.
It didn’t take the Spartans long to take their lead back. Less than a minute later, Connor Holm scored an unassisted goal to push his side back in front 4-3. About a minute later, Max Watson scored an unassisted goal to make it 5-3.
“Being able to answer those goals is huge,” Klein said. “They’re high school boys and high school hockey in North Dakota can be a roller coaster where you get scored on and you get really down. When that happens, to be able to respond is a big character piece we want to be able to build on.”
The Spartans spent a large portion of the game with a man disadvantage with eight penalties called on them. West Fargo scored three of its five goals on the power play, including one of Jacobson’s two goals.
“West Fargo has some guys that can score and when you’re down a man, there is time and space out there,” Klein said. “They got their shooting players into good spots and they made good plays. We needed to skate a little harder on the back check. I’m not going to say I loved every penalty, but those guys are out there too. We have to defend a little better, we have to find a way to kill a little more.”
Five different players scored for Fargo North, with Owen Bartz the only player doubling up. Holm added a goal and two assists, while Watson added a goal and an assist.
“The offensive side of the puck is easy,” Klein said. “Getting to that point is the hard part. Today we would get pucks into our offensive zone and our guys were sharing pucks, making plays. When we got around the net, we didn’t try to do anything too cute with it. We made hard plays along the ice and they found the back of the net.”
FIRST: 1, FN, Richards (Fritel, Tostenson) 2:38. 1, WF, Jacobson (Staahl) 4:02, pp. 2, FN, Olson (Bartz, Kiland) 9:00. 3, FN, Kiland (Holm) 14:24
SECOND: 2, WF, Bossert (Jacobson) 4:36. 3, WF, Staahl (Diemer, Roehrich) 7:20, pp. 4, FN, Holm (unassisted) 8:49. 5, FN, Watson (unassisted) 9:50.
THIRD: 4, WF, Bossert, 1:02 pp. 5, FN, Bartz (Holm) 1:41. 5, WF, Jacboson (Witt, Diemer) 16:57.
SAVES: FN, Robison 6-5-13—24; WF, Baker 5-3-0—8, Johnson 1-2-8—11.