Fargo Davies goalie stops last-minute breakaway to seal shutout over Grand Forks Central
Wiemken finished with 22 saves as Fargo Davies advanced to the East Region championship, while the Knights play a state qualifier on Sunday.
GRAND FORKS — In the final minute, Fargo Davies goalie Trent Wiemken was zeroing in on his second-straight shutout to open the East Region boys hockey tournament on Saturday.
With his offense buzzing Grand Forks Central's empty net with 30 seconds remaining, Wiemken had no idea he was about to be asked to make one more dramatic save.
But Central defenseman Dillon Kuntz first acted as goalie to stop Davies' offense, then fired a long pass to send Colton Bjorge on a clean breakaway looking for the game-tying goal.
Wiemken stood tall one more time by fighting off Bjorge's shot to secure a 1-0 victory over the Knights in an East Region semifinal at Purpur Arena.
Davies, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, clinches a spot in the North Dakota state tournament and lands a spot in the region title game. No. 4 Central, meanwhile, will play No. 6 West Fargo Sheyenne in an 11 a.m. state qualifier at Purpur on Sunday.
Wiemken had to survive an intense final minute. Davies nearly scored on Central's open net, as the Eagles hit a cross bar. But the Knights offense sprung in the other direction thanks to a stretch pass from Kuntz.
"He showed great presence of mind and poise not getting rattled," Central coach Grant Paranica said of the play. "That's a testament to his play back there. He's been good for us all year long."
But the veteran Wiemken was there for the save, as he has had a hand in nine shutouts this season.
"It caught me off-guard a little bit," Wiemken said. "Our (defense) was a little too high. I came out, thought he was going to shoot it . Bjorge has a good shot. I was able to get it, and it was awesome."
Davies' lone goal came from Cam Bullinger in the first period at 6 minutes, 37 seconds.
"Our goal was to punch our ticket today," Davies coach Nate Metcalf said. "We didn't want to put ourselves in a position like we were last year with an elimination game and a puck bounces the wrong way and you're watching the state tournament from the stands."
Davies didn't make the state tournament last year, snapping a five-year streak of state tournament appearances.
The Knights haven't missed the state tournament since 2013. Central beat Sheyenne 4-1 and 6-0 during the regular season.
"We hardly talked about (Saturday's) game," Paranica said. "We talked everything about (Sunday). As far as we're concerned, that's in the past. We have to go forward and get that one in order to qualify."